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The Chicago History Museum is excited to embark on a multifaceted park beautification project including renovations to our plaza and construction of the Richard M. and Shirley H. Jaffee History Trail. Set to break ground on March 2021, the History Trail, an interpretive path through the park space around the Museum, will incorporate features such as the “Fire Blob”, a rarely-seen relic from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the Couch Tomb, a reminder that the area once housed a Chicago city cemetery.

Each stop on the Jaffee History Trail will explore aspects of Chicago’s personality, highlighting the city’s resilience, innovation, and complexity. Additional elements will include a native species garden where students can identify native plants and trace plant shapes etched into the garden’s boulders, a collection of community designed weathervanes, and an open pedestal where visitors can consider what leadership means and what they stand for. The new landscaping plan includes approximately 150 new trees and large beds of native plants, which will attract birds and other pollinators.

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Please keep an eye on our website for up-to-date news and information about public meetings regarding the project.

We will host a virtual community town hall to discuss the project on April 13, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. This page will be updated as information becomes available about the meeting, including an event link.


We are grateful for the support Ald. Michele Smith and Sheila Pacione, Director of Constituent Services and Infrastructure and our supportive community partners who have provided guidance and letters of support for this important project:

  • Amy Lemar, Wintrust Old Town
  • Steven Weiss, Old Town Triangle Association
  • Ellen isaacson, Lincoln Park Advisory Council
  • Kim Schilf, Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Kevin Bell, Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Michael Pitts, Moody Bible Church
  • Randall Dunn, Latin School of Chicago

Construction for the project is projected to be completed October 2021. Fundraising is still underway. Donate today to help bring this community project to life!

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories
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