Lake Shore Drive/The Lakefront
Built in: When Potter Palmer built his lakefront mansion in 1882, he coerced the city to build a street for carriages adjacent to his property (in what is now the Gold Coast) to amplify its value.
The Drive’s birth, however, can be traced to the 1869 act, which established the Lincoln Park District and allowed an unnamed drive to be built from the end of Pine St (Michigan Ave) to North Avenue along Lake Michigan. This half-mile stretch was completed in the 1880s and named Lake Shore Drive. Lake Shore Drive was constructed in various stages, and completed as a limited-access highway in 1937 when the double-decker Link Bridge over the Chicago River opened. In 1979, Friends of the Parks advocated for resurfacing and marking the 18-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail from Hollywood Avenue on the north to 71st Street on the south.
Built by: The lakefront park space and roadway has a complex history with Chicago-style controversy involving civic leaders, government organizations, architects, and businessmen. Landscape architect Swain Nelson, who developed the first plan for Lincoln Park in 1865, supervised construction of a lakefront drive between Wisconsin St and Diversey Ave with his partner, Olaf Benson. Later appointed by the Lincoln Park Commission, Benson oversaw the development of Lake Shore Drive south of the park, between North Ave and Oak St, and refined a park plan with a lakefront roadway connecting the north and south sections. Before The Drive was fully developed, architect Daniel Burnham realized the value of a continuous lakefront park from Jackson Park to the city limits north of Lincoln Park in his "Plan of Chicago" published in 1909.
Why it's one of the seven wonders: Still a work in progress, both Lake Shore Drive and its adjacent landscaped Lakefront Trail have shaped Chicago's 26 miles of shoreline, and the city's reputation in its quest to be the greenest city in America. Both the roadway and 18.5-mile bike/running path provide easy access to public parks and beaches in a range of socio-economic communities alongside the lakefront for locals and visitors to appreciate.