Municipal Pier #2 (Navy Pier)

Chicago in the early 1900s was a mess, to put it lightly. Despite an official motto of “urbs in horto”—city in a garden—it was anything but. It was crowded. Dirty. Stinky. Think traffic is bad now? Fuhgeddaboudit. So many ships were coming into the Chicago River that you could barely cross it because the bridges were continuously being raised, and there weren’t that many bridges in the first place. The Michigan Avenue Bridge didn’t exist—Michigan Avenue north of the river didn’t even exist. Getting “bridged” was an acceptable excuse for being late to work. 

So a group of businessmen got together and made a plan. This plan was a civic ideal that would turn Chicago from a chaotic mess into the City Beautiful. The Second City, reborn from the ashes of 1871, would reinvent itself again. With the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago had already proven that it could build beauty out of chaos and structure out of mud, but this time they would make it permanent. They even hired the same man to make it happen.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1916
Architect: Charles Sumner Frost
Address: 600 E. Grand Ave.

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Sources for Municipal Pier #2 (Navy Pier)

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • Bukowski, Douglas. Navy Pier: A Chicago Landmark. United States, Ivan R. Dee, 1996.
  • Chicago Landmark Designation Report: Chicago & North Western Railway Office Building.
  • ChicagoNavyMemorial.org
  • Commercial Club of Chicago. Committee on Chicago Harbor and Port Survey. The Harbor Plan of Chicago. [Chicago], 1927.
  • Reardon, Patrick T. “Burnham quote: Well, it may be.” The Chicago Tribune, 1 Jan 1992.

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