Tuesday, February 21, 2012

National Parks in Chicago

Our discussion of  “Nature’s Metropolis” lead me to research the national parks in Chicago. I came across an article (link below) that talks about developments to turn the Pullman railcar factory into a national park. When reading this article, I was confused as to how the factory could be considered a “park.” It certainly did not seem like any park I had ever come across. The article explains, “It would include the factory and clock tower north of the street, and the market square, the former Hotel Florence, the Green Stone Church on 112th Street and several mansions and row houses in the immediate area.” To me, this sounds more like the preservation of a historic district than a national park. However, when thinking about it in the context of the reading, it makes sense that the city of Chicago would want to preserve a built-up area as a park. In the reading, we discussed how the environment greatly impacted the way that the city was built. Therefore, the area that they are turning into a park was also influenced by nature.

The article acknowledges that the city hopes the park will increase tourism in the area. I found this interesting because we have often discussed how the growing city of Chicago encouraged people to come to the Midwest. It seems almost like the city is trying to return to a time before the city was very developed by encouraging tourist to come to a “park” instead of a metropolis.

Outdoor activities come to mind quite easily for me when I think about the Midwest. I was very surprised to find that this park would only be Chicago’s second national park. For a city so shaped by its surrounding bodies of water, I would have thought that the city would have out more emphasis on preserving part of the area’s natural beauty.


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