Turn right at the Midway Plaisance and go two long blocks west to
Cottage Grove Avenue. The Midway was designed as part of
the South Park System by Frederick Law Olmsted. It served as the
carnival midway for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Today it acts
as the "main street" of the University of Chicago, whose
buildings line it on both sides. The original campus designed by
Henry Ives Cobb faces the Midway between University and Ellis Avenues
on the north side of 59th Street. The main quadrangle lies behind
the massive Harper Library. The quadrangle can be entered
by foot from 59th Street or by auto from 58th and University. Cobb
Hall (named after Silas B. Cobb, no relation to the architect)
on the east side of Ellis Avenue was the first building to open.
It set the pattern for most of Cobb's work at the University of
Chicago. The architect chose blue-gray Bedford cut stone for the
buildings of the university.
The above photograph shows Hutchinson Court of the University
of Chicago in 1985. Mitchell Tower stands tall above Hutchinson
Court. This group of buildings was opened on December 22, 1903.
This court was the original site of the Court Theatre.
Turn right at Cottage Grove and proceed north to 55th
Street. As you make the turn, you will see a large concrete sculpture
on your left at the edge of Washington Park facing east towards
the Midway Plaisance. This is Lorado Taft's famous Fountain
of Time. It was dedicated in 1923 after fourteen years in
the making. This sculpture was reportedly cast in the largest
plaster piece-mold in the world. The Fountain of Time is the only
part of Taft's plan for the Midway which was actually carried
out. Taft envisioned the whole Midway as a sculpture garden dedicated
to the great ideas of mankind.
The DuSable Museum of African-American Culture stands on
the northwest corner of Cottage Grove and 57th Street. It is one
of Chicago's foremost black institutions. An impressive sculpture
garden decorates the museum's northern entrance in Washington