Millennium Park, which covers more than 24 acres on Lake Michigan, has been called the most ambitious public undertaking in Chicago’s history. It was designed to replace what was once a web of train tracks and parking lots. The park today is credited to Mayor Richard M. Daley’s vision and Frank Gehry’s sophisticated style – often referred to as Deconstructivism, or DeCon Architecture – and involvement.
The Millennium Monument is in the Wrigley Square portion of Millennium Park, on the corner of East Randolph Street and North Michigan Avenue in the location of its nearly identical predecessor in what was then known as Grant Park. That monument, constructed in 1917, was built of concrete and had not weathered its harsh lakeside environment well.
In 1953, the original concrete peristyle was demolished to accommodate the building of the new Grant Park North Garage. For its replication on its original site, archived copies of the original design by Edward Bennett – Daniel Burnham’s partner in the Plan of Chicago – were used. The resulting monument was scaled down slightly to accommodate an accessibility ramp, reducing the diameter of the 24 paired and fluted Doric columns by 20 feet but retaining the original monument’s 40-foot height.