Thursday, April 13, 2006

Girl's Gotta Have a Plan

My plan showed up a few days ago. You know, Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago -- the one that everyone's quoting, but no one's ever read.

I've been bumping into Burnham's "make no little plans" quote all over the place for years now. Most recently, Children's Memorial Hospital used it in a major fundraising campaign. (See document here - pdf.)

So, I figured it was time to see what was up beyond stirring men's souls with Millennium-parkish-sized plans. (Oops, he didn't really say that.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, it was published in 1908 and has pretty much been the underpinning force in shaping Chicago as we know it today. (Here's an entry about it in the Encyclopedia of Chicago for further reading.)

Let's kick off this new "Dipping into The Plan" feature by reading from page 107. It's about Halsted Street, which is just about three blocks west of where I'm typing right now.

No less important than . . . Michigan Avenue is the improvement of Halsted Street, often called the 'king of streets' by reason of its extreme length. . . This street will inevitably be called upon to bear a very heavy burden of traffic. One of the longest business streets in the world, it is bound to become also one of the most important.

Well, Champs Elysées, it's not. But, it is nice to think that at one time Daniel Burnham thought our avenue would amount to something of international reputation. He was right about the traffic, though.

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