Adler Planetarium Skyline Walk is the official name of this place.
As we enjoy one of the best views of the Chicago skyline from this wonderful vintage point we should remember two people who made it possible: Daniel Burnham and Max Adler.
This is the northern tip of Northerly Island, a man-made peninsula along Lake Michigan shoreline.
The idea for Northerly Island began with Daniel Burnham’s famous 1909 “Plan of Chicago”. He envisioned a lakefront park, “a parkland for the citizenry.”
His original idea called for five islands connected by bridges stretching from 12th Street (now Roosevelt Road) going southward to 63rs Street at Jackson Park.
In his vision Burnham was more concerned with boating than anything else. In his mind he saw happy citizens in small sailboats and rowboats leisurely cruising up and down the lagoon.
To fulfill a dream you generally need some money. Chicago generally lacks them.
Only in 1920, eight years after Burnham’s death, Chicago voters approved a $20 million bond issue. But it wasn’t enough to fulfill big Burnham’s dream.
By 1925 when landfill and dredging was finished only one northernmost island out of five was completed, hence the name Northerly Island.
Now it’s time to talk about Max Adler. He used to be an accomplished concert violinist. Then he met Sophie Rosenwald. They fell in love and got married.
While having a cigar with his future brother-in-law Max had been told that playing a violin won’t be financially viable to support the family. Max agreed. The rest is history and hundred years later we can enjoy Adler Planetarium Skyline Walk.
Max Adler married into Sears, Roebuck and Company empire which was the Amazon.com of that time. Julius Rosenwald, his brother-in-law, was the president of the company. In a few short years Max became the vice-president.
Both Julius and Max are famous now not because they made a fortune. We remember their names because they spent a significant amount of their fortune for a greater good of mankind.
Julius Rosenwald gave Chicago the Museum of Science and Industry and built schools in the southern states.
Max Adler gave Chicago the Planetarium, another temple of science.
I wonder how Jeff Bezos will be remembered.