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.