Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hoffman Dam Project Before and After, Riverside Il.

Last year a surprise “hit” for ChiTownView was a clip that showed some excavators working in the water on a dam project on the DesPlaines river where Riverside and Lyons meet. I was in the area thIs week and stopped by to see what changes a year makes.Quite a bit by the looks of this video that shows what the project looks like fifteen months apart.


it turns out this area has been the site of a dam for almost two hundred years. The first dam was  built in 1827 to power a saw mill but it only lasted for a few years. In 1866 another one was built this time to support a milling operation.

In 1907 the dam and surrounding area was bought by by a brewer named George Hoffman who turned it into a recreation area called Niagra Park featuring a beer garden, boat slips, picnicing and other outdoor entertainments. The castle like tower and smaller building on the other side of the street were part of the package. Unfortunatly a combination of pollution of the river caused by an exploding population and the advent of prohibition put the an end to this lovely spot. These two building are all that remains.

Just across the river is  one of the nations first planned communities of Riverside designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Olmstead who also worked on Central Park and the 1893 Columbian Exposition among other projects. Riverside is also home two three designs by Frank Lloyd Wright whose work we explore extensively on ChiTownView..



The original clip takes a look at the decorative buildings that date back to the time it was a recreation park. It can be found on ChiTownView.  http://youtu.be/8ClIJoGobCY

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