Tag Archives: Daniel Burnham

Daniel Burnham’s Vision for Chicago: Paris on the Prairie

White City of the World's Columbian Exposition...

White City of the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Administration Building, seen from the Agr...

The Administration Building, seen from the Agricultural Building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Horticultural Building, with Illinois Building...

Horticultural Building, with Illinois Building in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Republic in Jackson Park, Chicago...

English: The Republic in Jackson Park, Chicago, IL, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel Burnham on the terrace of his Evanston,...

Daniel Burnham on the terrace of his Evanston, IL home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/links/pages/CitySeal1.gif This image is a copy of the official seal of the City of Chicago, Illinois, as designed and adopted by the City in 1905. As such, it is a work authored before 1922, and is therefore in the public domain. A 1895 edition of the seal can be seen here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: View of Millennium Park from the Will...

English: View of Millennium Park from the Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower) in 2007, before Legacy Tower was built. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in the park are clearly visible, as well as part of Lurie Garden at right and the McDonald Cycle Center in the left hand corner. Daley Bicentennial Plaza is behind Millennium Park, both are part of the larger Grant Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, USA from Aon Cen...

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, USA from Aon Center (Chicago) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: View of Chicago, United States from t...

English: View of Chicago, United States from the 340 on the Park skyscraper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912) was a leading architect and forward thinking urban-planner. He wanted Chicago to become Paris on the Prairie.


Burnham and Root were the architects of one of the first American skyscrapers: the Masonic Temple Building in Chicago. It was Measuring 21 stories high at 302 feet. It was torn down in 1939.

Burnham and Root played an integral role in why Chicago looks the way it does today. They accepted the responsibility of overseeing and constructing the Exposition of 1893  to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage.

After Root’s sudden death, the plans were radically changed into a Classical Revival style in Jackson Park on the south lake font in Chicago.

Burnham became the Director of Works, and ultimately led the design and construction of  the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

Considered the first example of  comprehensive planning  in the nation, the fairground was complete with grand boulevards, classical building facades, and lush gardens. Often called the “White City”, it “popularized neoclassical architecture in a monumental and rational Beaux-Arts plan.” Much of his work was based on the classical style from Rome and Greece.

In 1909 he declared “The Lakefront belongs to the People” and laid out the Burnham plan; his vision for Grant Park that still guides the Park’s evolution.

Initiated in 1906 and published in 1909, Burnham and his co-author Edward H. Bennett prepared “The Plan of Chicago“, which laid out plans for the future of the city. The plan included ambitious proposals for the lakefront and river and declared that every citizen should be within walking distance of a park.

Many plans and conceptual designs of the south lakefront from the Columbian Exposition came in handy. He envisioned Chicago as a “Paris on the Prairie”. French-inspired public works projects, fountains, and boulevards radiating from a central domed municipal building became Chicago’s new backdrop. Burnham is famously quoted as saying, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.” This slogan has been taken to capture the essence of Burnham’s spirit.

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You can walk “The View Path” that highlights his plan in a new exhibit at Millennium Park. If you want to stay at a nice hotel in Chicago that was designed by Burnham and Root, head over to The Reliance Building  at 1 W. Washington Street in the Loop. The first floor and basement were designed by John Root of the Burnham and Root architectural firm in 1890, with the rest of the building completed by Charles B. Atwood in 1895. It is the first skyscraper to have large plate glass windows make up the majority of its surface area. The Reliance Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970; and on January 7, 1976, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.  Stay at the lovely the 122-room Hotel Burnham and dine at the Atwood Cafe.

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The path includes following sites:


Lurie Garden

Nichols Bridge

Art Institute of Chicago

South Garden

Railway Exchange

Congress Plaza

Congress Parkway Bridge

North President’s Court

Lincoln Statue

Buckingham Fountain

Outdoor Rooms

Lower Hutchinson Field

Lake Michigan Shoreline

Museum Campus

“Burnham View” a new permanent landmark sculpture with a spectacular view of the city and the park

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The Burning of the White City. (Electricity Bu...

The Burning of the White City. (Electricity Building on left, Mines and Mining Building on right.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Burnham also designed several notable buildings and skyscrapers in Chicago including:



 He died in Heidelberg, Germany and the successor firm to Burnham’s practice was Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, which continued in some form until 2006. There is a tribute to Burnham in Burnham Park and Daniel Burnham Court in Chicago.
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Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com


Cloud Gate from east with East Randolph Street...

Cloud Gate from east with East Randolph Street skyscrapers in background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Buckingham Fountain in the foreground...

English: Buckingham Fountain in the foreground with one of the Prudential Buildings at the far left and the AON Center (the tallest building) in the background. The top of the John Hancock Center is also visible (the one with two antennae at the top). I took this photo 11 Jul 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)












A view toward the Peristyle from Machinery Hall.

A view toward the Peristyle from Machinery Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, se...

The Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, seen from the southwest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Midway Plaisance, Chicago.

Midway Plaisance, Chicago. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrait of John Wellborn Root

Portrait of John Wellborn Root (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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