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The Chicago Lakefront: How Did It Happen?
How did Chicago, a city known for commerce, come to have such a splendid public waterfront—its most treasured asset? The story is told in Dean Kearney’s new book—Lakefront: Public Trust and Private Rights in Chicago, which is coauthored with Thomas W. Merrill (the Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law at Columbia University) and published by Cornell University Press. The product of two decades of research, Lakefront sets forth the social, political, and legal conflict in which private and public rights clashed repeatedly over time, only to produce, as a kind of miracle, a generally happy ending. The extraordinary story should be of interest not only to Chicagoans but to all interested in urban history and the preservation of public spaces.

This presentation will touch upon a number of highlights and recurring issues in controversies over the lakefront; further information concerning the book can be found at:


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