Promontory Point

5937_signature_PromontoryPoint.jpg
Chicago, IL
United States
Promontory Point

Landscape Information

Located at the southern end of Burnham Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood, Promontory Point is a man-made peninsula projecting into Lake Michigan. Created with Works Progress Administration funding and labor following the 1933-34 Worlds Fair, the 12-acre landform was created from landfill and lined with a stepped revetment of large limestone blocks. Designed circa 1937 by Alfred Caldwell in the Prairie Style, the naturalistic design features a raised, central meadow with interspersed groves of mature trees, native plantings, and a significant amount of stone. Signature council rings, previously employed by Jens Jensen and Caldwell in other Chicago parks, punctuate the lakefront and serve as gathering points for small groups. A masonry Field House sits at the top of the meadow. Park access is served via the Lakefront Trail, which passes under Lake Shore Drive through a tunnel. Water-oriented access is also available, and the shallow water around the point makes the site a favored swimming area. The fawn-shaped David Wallach Memorial Fountain, designed by Elizabeth and Frederick Hibbard in 1939, is visible to visitors immediately upon emerging from the pedestrian tunnel. In 1953 a 150-foot radar tower for the Nike Hercules missile defense system was erected on the point but was taken down in 1971. In 2018 Promontory Point was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.