22 Oktober 2011

Navy Pier – entertainment on the river bank

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On the banks of Lake Michigan in Chicago, lies the 3,300 foot long pier. Built in 1926 the cost of construction equals to $90.5 million in today’s currency rates. The Navy Pier was a section of the Plan of Chicago, created by a city planner and architect Daniel Burnham and his acquaintances. Initially the pier was designed to be declared as public infrastructure to make use of its multi-purpose setting. Primarily used as a cargo facility the wharf was then also converted as a facility for warehouses and lake freighters. The setting has now however, become a distinctive tourist attraction in Chicago.

Attractions at the Navy Pier includes an assortment of sightseeing tours and cruises, like the Seadog I, II, IV, Shoreline Sightseeing, Extreme and a Water Taxi service. Entertainment Cruises provides dinner outings on their fleets of classic ships, the Spirit of Chicago, the Mystic Blue and The Odyssey II. Extravagant festivals and special events throughout the year are celebrated at this favoured public site, with skies full of fireworks during some nights and at exclusive celebrations.

Grandly displayed at the entrance to the pier is an anchor, preserved from a naval vessel, the USS Chicago. Charles Sumner Frost was responsible for the supervision of the two year construction of the pier, which began in 1914. It was declared open in 1916, to serve as a facility to manage shipping as well as a popular destination for entertainment, and was then known to be the largest pier in the world.

Following the war, in the late 1920’s, the pier was named in honour of the Navy personnel of the area who served in battle. Later in 1946 the construction was given to the University of Illinois to conduct two-year undergraduate programs. It officially became a public attraction site when the International Exhibitions were conducted in the early 1960’s which included folkloric dance performances, circuses, assortments of international cuisine and varieties of arts and crafts.

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