Chicago Parks in Vintage Postcards
Chicago’s motto “Urbs in Horto” translates to “City in a Garden” and there is no best example of this motto than the our collection of public parks. While our collection of parks today is nice, it was once impressive. As you’ll see from these Chicago parks in vintage postcards depicting Washington Park, Garfield Park, and Lincoln Park Conservatory.
This vintage postcard reads: “Washington park, Lagoon, Chicago.”
This vintage postcard reads: “Boat House, Washington Park, Chicago.”
This vintage postcard reads: “Lincoln Park Conservatory.”
This vintage postcard reads: “Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago ILL” I believe this postcard and the postcard above depict the same greenhouse in the conservatory, but from slightly different angles.
This vintage postcard reads: “Lincoln Park, Conservatory, Chicago.” Based on the two postcards above, I think this one shows the same greenhouse in the Lincoln Park Conservatory but from the opposite direction.
This vintage postcard reads: “Interior Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago,Ill.”
Unfortunately, the conservatory in Washington Park no longer stands because it was demolished in the 1930s after falling in disrepair. Today you can still visit the Garfield Park and Lincoln Park conservatories if you live in Chicago or just come to visit. They’re free and open to the public and I can’t recommend visiting them enough.
It’s interesting to see Chicago parks depicted in these vintage postcards because they give us a glimpse into the past when the appreciation and maintenance of these green and public spaces was at their all time high. It’s also interesting to see how horticultural tastes have evolved from the days when plants were appreciated by being potted up and raised up the eye level of the visitors. If you visit today, you’ll notice that the plantings are more natural and reflect Jens Jensen’s approach to interior landscaping. Walking through our conservatories feels a lot like taking a stroll through giant terrariums.
Learn more about the history of Chicago’s parks in Inspired by Nature: The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago’s West Side and The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks, Second Edition (Center for American Places – Center Books on American Places)