The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Calendar & Projects


The Legacy of Daniel Burnham, Architect and City Planner

The Legacy of Daniel Burnham, Architect and City Planner

This three-day Study Tour will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's Plan of Chicago through an array of lectures, tours, and special evening events.  The tour will highlight Burnham and the plan in a variety of different guises:  imagined and realized, proposed and enacted, seen and unseen. 

Leading scholars and experts Kristen Schaffer, Dennis McClendon, Sally A. Kitt Chappell, Carl Smith, Judith McBrien, and Robert Bruegmann will provide lectures, tours, and commentary during the course of the three-day event. Their presence will ensure thoughtful and analytical approaches and promises some of the more recent and provocative interpretations of the 1909 plan and its significance.  Daily lectures will be held at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts with guided tours to follow, either on foot or by motor coach.

The 1909 Plan of Chicago is the fulcrum around which the tour program will turn. Yet  participants are expected to gain greater insight into Burnham's architectural practice, philosophy, and influence through a close-up examination of buildings designed by his firm and those of his partners, collaborators, and successors including John Wellborn Root, Edward Bennett, Charles Atwood, Ernest Graham, Pierce Anderson, Edward Probst, Howard White, Hubert Burnham, and Daniel Burnham, Jr. The tour will provide striking views of the plan, from scans of original lantern slides shown to municipal authorities to an elevated perspective over the waterfront from the terrace of the Cliff Dwellers Club.

Participants also will have a special opportunity to view clips of Judith McBrien's much-anticipated Burnham documentary film entitled "Make No Little Plans"--with discussion about the making of the film by McBrien herself.  Dennis McClendon will lead a motorcoach tour that highlights geographically far-flung aspects of the plan (as realized), including a straightened section of the Chicago River, lakefront development, and outlying boulevards.  A special side trip will include a visit to Burnham's final resting spot in the recently restored "Burnham Island" at Graceland Cemetery.  A walking tour of Lincoln Park, guided by Sally A. Kitt Chappell, will illuminate the connections between the built and natural environments, highlighting the recently-rehabilitated Prairie-style Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, designated a Chicago Landmark in 2002.  To cap off the weekend's festivities, participants will be invited aboard an exclusive sunset architectural tour, aboard a Wendella sightseeing boat, along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

The weekend promises a unique and critical perspective on this world-class city:  a city that continues to build upon and interpret the plan through its sustainable design efforts and comprehensive approach to regional planning.  There is no more appropriate city in America to examine the intersection of the built and natural environments on a vast metropolitan scale--perhaps the greatest legacy of the Plan of Chicago.

A more detailed description and pricing can be found by scrolling down to the "itinerary" link here:, or more directly by clicking on the following:

Program Partner

Society of Architectural Historians

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the study and preservation of the built environment worldwide.  The Society's membership of approximately 2,500 individuals includes professors of architectural and art history, architects and other design professionals, ...[MORE]

This program was offered on these dates:
Friday, August 7, 2009 11:00am to Sunday, August 9, 2009 10:00pm

Society of Architectural Historians

Contact: Phil Gruen, 509.335.2309,


Society of Architectural Historians
1365 North Astor Street
Chicago, IL 60610-2144
312.573.1141 (fax)
[Get Directions]

The Burnham Plan Centennial
© Copyright 2009

c/o Chicago Metropolis 2020
30 West Monroe Street, 18th Floor Chicago, Illinois 60603 • (312)332-2020

Site developed and hosted by
The University of Chicago Library