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Giants in the Park is a history guide for the monuments in Lincoln Park, Chicago's largest and, historically, most important park. Giants encountered with this walking tour guidebook include Lincoln, La Salle, Grant, Sheridan, Schiller, Goethe, Altgeld … seventeen portrait statues in all. Missing monuments and salient park history are documented as well.
‘Lincoln the Man’ is the most important statue on the tour and is a masterpiece of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the ranking American sculptor of his era. Saint-Gaudens’s Lincoln was groundbreaking when unveiled in 1887. With the inclusion of the classical chair behind the standing Lincoln and with its elaborate base designed by architect Stanford White, it is much more than the typical portrait statue.
Of all the park’s monuments, our La Salle bronze is the most significant to Chicago’s history. At it’s unveiling in 1889, La Salle was celebrated as the man “to whose geographical discoveries American civilization owes a heavy debt.” After being the first white-man to travel the full-length of the Mississippi River in 1682, La Salle returned to the Chicago portage the following winter, where in his journal, he predicted the rise of a great city.
The history behind each and every monument is unique and exciting. Throughout the book, interesting connections exist to a wide variety of topics and early Chicago personalities: the Columbian Exposition of 1893, the Haymarket affair, the Great Chicago Fire, the Civil War, early Chicago ethnic groups, the park’s cemetery years, Charles Yerkes, Frances Willard, Mayor Carter Harrison and much more.
Lincoln Park’s monumental art invites us to explore the old: to study the heroes of our Chicago forefathers; and through examining the realization of their likenesses, to glimpse moments and ideals from our great city’s youth.
Recommended for grades 3 and up
Lincoln Park History and Monument Presentation
Lincoln Park, historically Chicago's great place of leisure, is also an outdoor art and history museum. Learn the histories behind the bronze giants of Chicago's largest park in this three-part program. With historical photographs and book highlights, Krista shares stories about the heroes, the artists, the benefactors, and the unveiling ceremonies. Missing statuary and salient park history are detailed as well.
Lincoln Park History and Monument Tours
Walk or bike Lincoln Park and encounter heroes of our Chicago forefathers, celebrated in enduring bronze. Krista August unveils the histories behind local sculpture on these art treks, available as private tours. On occasion, private tours open to the public and are posted on this site.
Krista August, a former teacher and a former docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation, has partnered with several area schools to-date on enrichment programming for students studying Chicago history. Her Giants in the Park slide presentation is adaptable to young learners 3rd grade and up.
Student Field Trip
Scout Lincoln Park and encounter bronze GIANTS of history and literature on a Giants in the Park field trip that is part scavenger hunt, part monument tour, and part statues rededication ceremonies. Adaptable to students 3rd grade and up.
Chicago Writers Association
Book of the Year
Certificate of Excellence
“'Giants in the Park' is an essential item for any Chicago lover’s bookshelf.”
-- Rick Kogan, WGN
“This lovely book, which is accented by the author’s watercolors of the statues, belongs on everyone’s Chicago-history bookshelf.”
-- Greg Borzo, author
“Giants” is “a passionate, personal project (combining history, art, love of Chicago, love of books), beautifully executed."
-- Sharon Woodhouse, publisher
Hi Krista, I just finished reading Giants in the Park, and I wanted to pass along my praise. The book struck an excellent balance between being well-researched, thorough, concise, and entertaining. In each chapter, you did a really good job of selecting material that would interest readers. I really enjoyed reading it.
Bought book last night. Husband loves it. Thank you
Hi Krista, Our tour with you yesterday was terrific! There is so much interesting history in the monuments in the Lincoln Park that we were unaware of. Thanks for making this history come alive!
Giants in the Park ACTIVITY BOOK is designed to engage young students with coloring pages, primary source material, text highlighting notable history, and multidisciplinary activities. In many instances growing giants are directed to museum and learning sites on the Internet for further enrichment.
It was the statues and their histories that determined the learning opportunities, so the exercises vary with respect to age level. The lessons are meant to be thought provoking, with the hope that young learners will be inspired to explore further in countless additional directions, according to their interests and curiosities.
Eight of the park’s seventeen portrait statues are featured with learning activities, and an additional five monuments are highlighted with coloring pages. Less common words are introduced in the text to help young readers grow their vocabularies, while a glossary is provided to support student understanding.
Giants in the Park
Upcoming Events Open to Public:
Worth Public Library
October 1, Giants Part I
October 27, 7:00, Giants Part III
Evanston History Center
November 10, Giants Part I
Indian Trails Public Library
December 8, 12:15, Giants Part III