This area near the Lincoln Park Zoo was originally built in 1889 as an ornate, Victorian style garden. Its pool was artificially heated. Over the years, it was overrun with frogs and invasive species of plants.
In 1936, Alfred Caldwell was hired by WPA to restore the overgrown, neglected garden. His plan was to create a natural Midwest ecosystem on this 2.7 acre site. It was to resemble a lush area of the Illinois Valley. After his budget was cut, he used his personal money to complete the project. He imported native plants from Sauk County, Wisconsin.
By the 1950’s, migratory birds had claimed the area. The Lincoln Park Zoo converted the area into a rookery. The area became overrun.
The Lincoln Park Conservatory decided to restore the area to Caldwell’s original plan. The Lily Pool was reopened in 2007.