Tours

Love Architecture? Join us for a Tour!

WALF members organize tours designed to deepen appreciation for both historic and contemporary Chicago architecture. Tours frequently feature buildings under construction or recently completed, led by architects involved in the project.

Tours cost $35 for non-members, $25 for members, and $15 for students.


Photography © Lincoln Park Conservancy

POSTPONED! Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool & Lincoln Park Conservatory (2391 N. Stockton Drive, Chicago)

Tour: Weds, June 15 at 10:30am will be rescheduled for Sept/Oct. Stay tuned!

The Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool are operated by the Lincoln Park Conservancy and owned by the Chicago Park District.

The tour will include both the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Both are accessible. There will be a fair amount of walking. We will divide into smaller groups for our docent-led tour.

By the 1950s, the 1936 lily pool was deteriorated and was loaned to the Lincoln Park Zoo for an avian exhibit. This caused further deterioration, and the Park District closed it to the public for many years. Weedy trees and shrubs grew unchecked, stonework broke, hillsides eroded, wildflowers died, and the pool filled with debris. In 1997, a master plan was created to restore Caldwell’s historic landscape and improve accessibility. The Lincoln Park Conservancy raised $1.1 millions in private funding and the Chicago Park District allocated $1.3 million for capital. The restoration was completed in 2002. Once again, a “cool, refreshing, clear place,” the restoration earned the site National Historic Landmark and Chicago Historical Landmark status.

In 1874, Lincoln Park hired its first gardener and built the first greenhouse. In 1889, the park commissioned architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee and M. E. Bell to design the conservatory building. The Palm House opened in 1892, and other houses were completed by 1895. Despite changes, both large and small, over the years, the Conservatory maintains its historic charm and essence.

Other Details for the Tour Day:

Meet outside the main entrance to the Conservatory.

Public parking is available for $28 a day in the lot directly behind the Conservatory at
2391 N. Stockton Drive.
The lot entrance is on Stockton Drive just south of Fullerton
Parkway. Street parking may also be available on Stockton or Cannon Drives
between Diversey and Fullerton Parkways. CTA bus service is also available.

All COVID protocols for the City of Chicago and State of Illinois must be followed.

Please visit www.lincolnparkconservancy.org for more information and history, as well as touring protocols and visitor etiquette.

RSVP Here for our Lincoln Park Conservancy Tour by June 10! Fill out the form below & Make your ticket payment through the PayPal Donation button or at the event.

Any questions? Email us at walfchicago@gmail.com

All money received for unused reservations will be donated to the WALF Scholarships.

Pay for your Tour Attendance through the “Donate with Paypal” button here

Previous Tour Oct 2021- Old Post Office (433 W. Van Buren Street)

After sitting vacant for nearly two decades, The Old Post Office has just completed an $800 million renovation, the largest historic redevelopment in the country! Tour lead by Grant C. Uhlir, Regional Managing Principal for Gensler, and senior manager for the Old Post Office project.

A bit more about this historic restoration: Today, the property boasts over 2.5 million square feet of stunning multi-use office and event space, and is poised to once again become the central hub of Chicago’s business community. The historically minded restoration and repositioning, including restoration of the building’s facade, windows, main lobby, Postmaster-General’s suite, and historic corridors. This project was as much about transformation as it was about the research of what once was. Gensler has created detailed documentation of existing equipment including scales, mail chutes, conveyors, historic corridors, original mosaic tile floors, and plaster ceilings. Preservation of these elements is paired with graphic stories and displays of postal relics to capture a unique brand experience that speaks to the building’s history and its purpose moving forward. The development is LEED certified.

Photos from Previous Tours


Our tours range from historical to contemporary. Six to seven tours are typically scheduled every year. Some previous locations have included:

Lane Tech Murals

Commonwealth Promenade Apartments

Millennium Park Walking Tour

Chicago Cultural Center

Heritage Condos

Garland Court Construction

Bronzeville Bus Tour

Brad Lynch Residence

Krause Music Store

Palmolive Building Renovation

Skybridge Condos

Loyola University Art Museum

Prairie Avenue District: Marshall Field Jr. House/Condo Conversion

Orozco School Mosaics & National Museum of Mexican Art

Vietnam Veterans’ Art Museum

Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago

B’hai Temple

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

Rooftop Garden at Chicago City Hall

Crab Tree Farms

BPAPS Hindu Temple

Harrison Conference Center

St. James Chapel at Quigley Seminary