Chicago Area National Park Service Sites
While there are no national parks in Illinois, the state is home to a number of national historic sites and monuments, including the Lincoln Home in Springfield and sections of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. In 2015, the city of Chicago became home to the 406th National Park Service site with the establishment of the Pullman National Monument. This national monument is what remains of the planned company town George Pullman founded in 1880 on what is now the far south side of Chicago. The town originally included factories to manufacture his luxury railroad cars, other public buildings, and accommodations for workers, mostly row houses that were of high quality. Many of the row houses and a few other original buildings remain.
Only 30 miles outside Chicago, the Indiana Dunes have long been a calming reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city. Supporters advocating for the Indiana Dunes recognized as a national park began nearly 20 years before the Organic Act of 1916. It would take until 1966 for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to become a reality and the current park is more than 15,000 acres.
Professor of Botany Henry Chandler Cowles was a champion of the movement to have the lakeshore recognized as a national park beginning in 1899 with the publication of an article about the ecology of the dunes in The Botanical Gazette entitled “The Ecological Relations of the Vegetation on the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan.”