SOUTH PARKS REVITALIZATION
THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS

Washington | Midway | Jackson

The South Parks of Washington, the Midway Plaisance, and Jackson in Chicago were laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux in 1871 as one park system called “South Park” – a masterpiece of urban planning and park innovation. 

In 1893, with Washington Park completed, Jackson Park and a portion of the Midway became the site of the World's Columbian Exposition where millions of visitors from around the world explored and experienced the best examples of science, industry, art, and innovation in a newly designed city environment that would influence the direction of American architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning well into the 20th century. 
 
Today, the South Parks are once again a place for grand vision and innovation, and an influential component of Chicago's South Side cultural renaissance and resurgence.

Recognizing the historical, cultural, economic and ecological significance of the South Parks, Project 120 Chicago, in partnership with the Chicago Park District, is leading a team of interdisciplinary professionals to plan, develop, and carry out improvements that respect, preserve, and renew the character of the landscape as designed by Olmsted, while addressing current and future issues and needs that will promote ecology and community vitality and livability for generations to come.

Watch Video: Project 120 Chicago - Introduction

PROJECT 120 CHICAGO

Project 120 Chicago is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that is partnering with the Chicago Park District and the Community with support of generous donors to revitalize the South Parks and establish The South Parks Conservancy.
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THE SOUTH PARKS

Originally laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux in 1871 as one park system called “South Park” – a masterpiece of urban planning and park innovation. Today, the South Parks are once again a place for grand vision and innovation, and an influential component of Chicago's South Side cultural renaissance and resurgence.
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PROJECTS

Project 120 Chicago is leading a team of interdisciplinary professionals that are working on projects in and around the South Parks, including historic and ecological landscape restoration, new landscape, architecture and art design, park interpretation, and more.
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News & Info

Phase 2 – 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
South Parks History

Olmsted helped select the location of the fairgrounds, stressing that views of Lake Michigan should provide the backdrop for the fair and noting the unfinished state of Jackson Park. Rising from the ashes of the 1871 Great Fire, he recommended holding the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 there. Read More

Why Cherry Blossom Trees in Jackson Park?
South Parks History

Over 120 cherry blossom trees were planted to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of the gift of the Phoenix Pavilion, and renew Chicago's commitment made to Japan in 1893 and again in 1935 to preserve the site as a place for visitors to learn about Japan and experience and explore Japanese culture.  Read More

1893 Dedication of the Phoenix Pavilion on the Wooded Island
South Parks History

On March 31, 1893, Japanese and Americans gathered together in the heartland of America, on the Wooded Island in Chicago, to prepare for the opening of the World’s Columbian Exposition. They gathered to celebrate the arrival of a Phoenix that would take the form of a pavilion, which they hoped would teach the world about Japan, and, in turn, would lead us to learn about each other and ourselves. For the past 120 years, enduring through the highs and lows in the U.S.-Japan relationship, Chicago has maintained the site of the Phoenix Pavilion on the Wooded Island as a place for Americans to experience Japanese culture. Read More

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