I thought it might be fun to challenge our readers with the following photo, taken recently with my daughters and their cousins (faces edited out to protect the innocent).
Where in the world was this taken?
For those of you who know me well enough, I suspect you avoided answering, otherwise you'd know that I love to show off my home city of Chicago too much for this picture not to have been taken there!
I was kind of hoping that most guesses would be thinking of a place in the "country" famous for limestone bluffs; hence Tony, DmL, and Beth all guessed as I suspected.
However, the mysterious "1dep" was close -- he must have figured out (maybe from the title of the post) that I was misleading everyone and wanted to spring a surprise that such a place could exist in Chicago. The picture was taken at Palmisano Park, which is not in Ravenswood (which is northwest of downtown), but actually about two miles southwest of the downtown area:
Palmisano Park is actually an old quarry that was then used as a landfill and eventually turned into the park you see in the picture. Here is a nice shot of the pier that the girls are standing on from above:
And here is a shot from atop the hill that was created from landfill which now affords great views of the city:
I'll leave you all with the Chicago Park District's write up of the park, found on their website:
In 2009, this park was one of Chicago's newest and most interesting green spaces, opened in the Bridgeport neighborhood. After convening community meetings to determine the needs of local residents, the Chicago Park District hired Site Design Group to develop a plan for the park. The environmentally-sustainable design was inspired by the natural history of the site. This is the site of an ancient coral reef dating back to the Silurian age 400 million years ago. Dolomite limestone formed, and fossils that were found here are now in the collections of several area museums including Field Museum of Natural History. In the late 1830s, the land was purchased by the Illinois Stone and Lime Company which began quarry operations. Within a short time, one of its partners, Marcus Cicero Stearns took over and renamed the quarry. Stearns was an early Chicago settler who got his start by opening a supply store for workmen who blasted out rock to build the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Even after Stearns died in 1890, the quarry continued operating under his name until 1970. For the next few decades, the site was used as a landfill for clean construction debris. After the dumping ended, the idea of transforming the site into a new park emerged. The new park would be especially important because the surrounding Bridgeport neighborhood had long suffered from a lack of adequate green space. Today, visitors to Palmisano Park can go fishing in a pond that retains old quarry walls; stroll along a wetland area that drains into the pond; watch for birds and other wildlife attracted by the site's vast range of native plants; fly kites in an open meadow; or take in the views of the cityscape. Chicago Park District Project Manager Claudine Malik explains: “The Stearns Quarry of today has certainly come a long way from the days of a limestone quarry. The vibrant, active park is a welcome respite from city life, an educational opportunity, a place for recreation and a prime example of what creative thinking can accomplish and yet the memory of the quarry and its lasting historic legacy remain inextricably a part of the park.”
Chicago is full of off the beaten path treasures like this park and I'm glad I can share them with our readers. For all its many faults, I still think this is a great city!