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Old Posted Aug 18, 2008, 7:12 AM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philopdx View Post
I don't know the history, was this an urban renewal project of a previously blighted area? I would congratulate them in that case, since flashing lights and mojitos are much preferred to spooky, empty warehouses.
IIRC, Navy Pier was built to consolidate a bunch of docks around the downtown area into one place, so that lakefront and riverfront parks could be built. Since Great Lakes shipping traffic declines in winter, the pier was largely unused and housed large conventions and shows. In WWII, the pier was used by the Navy to train new sailors from around the Midwest, which is when it got the name "Navy Pier" (up until then, it had been called Municipal Pier No. 2).

It later housed a special branch of the University of Illinois, set up to educate large numbers of returning soldiers. This branch eventually moved a few miles away and became UIC, but this left the pier largely unused again until the 1980s, when a massive renovation added the ferris wheel, a food court, winter garden, shopping, the Skyline Stage, the modern convention spaces, and the lakefront promenade. Over the next 10 years, various boat companies were formed to offer lake cruises and tours from Navy Pier's docks.
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