Skip to main content

Forever Open, Clear, and Free

The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront

2d edition
Of the thirty miles of Lake Michigan shoreline within the city limits of Chicago, twenty-four miles is public park land. The crown jewels of its park system, the lakefront parks bewitch natives and visitors alike with their brisk winds, shady trees, sandy beaches, and rolling waves. Like most good things, the protection of the lakefront parks didn’t come easy, and this book chronicles the hard-fought and never-ending battles Chicago citizens have waged to keep them "forever open, clear, and free."

Illustrated with historic and contemporary photographs, Wille’s book tells how Chicago’s lakefront has survived a century of development. The story serves as a warning to anyone who thinks the struggle for the lakefront is over, or who takes for granted the beauty of its public beaches and parks.

"A thoroughly fascinating and well-documented narrative which draws the reader into the sights, smells and sounds of Chicago’s story. . . . Everyone who cares about the development of land and its conservation will benefit from reading Miss Wille’s book."—Daniel J. Shannon, Architectural Forum

"Not only good reading, it is also a splendid example of how to equip concerned citizens for their necessary participation in the politics of planning and a more livable environment."—Library Journal

214 pages | 28 pages of halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1972, 1991

Chicago and Illinois

Geography: Urban Geography

History: American History, Urban History

Sociology: Urban and Rural Sociology

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword to the Second Edition by Gerald D. Suttles
Foreword by Dale O’Brien
1. The Beginnings
2. "It Would Only Be Necessary to Make a Canal"
3. The Land They Labeled "Free"
4. The Railroad-on-the-Lake
5. A City Circled by Parks
6. The Rise and Fall of White City
7. ". . . When You Deal with Montgomery Ward"
8. Daniel Burnham Makes a Plan
9. The Age of Cement and Convenience
10. "You Can Have Too Much Green Grass"
11. The Future

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press