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Yet Another New Life for Chicago's Old Waterfront Airport

August 3, 2012 at 1:10 PM | by | ()

If you're old enough or just Chicago enough, you'll have heard of the saga of Chicago's Meigs Field/Northerly Island. In 1933, this bit of land that jutted out from downtown Chicago was made the center of the World's Fair. In 1948, the land became the single runway airport Meigs Field, which was controversially closed for good in 2003 when Chicago's mayor Daley tore up the runways in the middle of the night, with the aim of making it a park according to the 1909 plan of Chicago's city planner, Daniel Burnham.

We last visited the finished park in spring 2010, enjoying a leisurely stroll on paths surrounded by prairie grass, where once was a runway. We even peeked into the closed '60s-era terminal that still stands. Well, it turns out that isn't the finished product at all, as Chicago has even more ambitious plans for the manmade island-turned airport-turned park.

The plan calls for Northerly Island to become a "Millennium Park of nature" in 2-3 years, after the city brings in the talents of Studio Gang, the architecture firm who also did Chicago's Aqua Tower. Spoiler alert: they also want to make a lagoon with a shipwreck to encourage diving in the area!

Curbed Chicago just reported that construction on the 91 acres for Northerly Island Version 2.0 is expected to being this fall. Check out more images of what's to come, right here.

[Photos: Jaunted & Northerly Island]

Archived Comments:

Northerly Island

"Devil in the White City" took place during the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and in Jackson Park, which is much farther south along Lake Michigan. Northerly Island was completed in 1925, and in 1933-34 was a focal point for the Century of Progress Exposition. Two very different World's Fairs. Please do your homework before you post!


Okay, got our World's Fairs mixed up for a sec. Fixed!