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Urban GreenNature, Recreation, and the Working Class in Industrial Chicago$
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Colin Fisher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469619958

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469619958.001.0001

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Where Chicagoans Found Nature

Where Chicagoans Found Nature

An Expedition with Leonard Dubkin, Urban Ranger

(p.7) Chapter One Where Chicagoans Found Nature
Urban Green

Colin Fisher

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores some of the well-known urban and peri-urban landscapes that can be found in and around Chicago with the help of naturalist Leonard Dubkin. It examines six major nineteenth-century pastoral parks, dozens of smaller neighborhood athletic parks, the Lake Michigan shore, and an abundance of forest preserves, including commercial groves, beer gardens, and amusement parks. These are the places where Chicagoans “found nature,” as many felt that they could escape the work, exhaustion, illness, and artifice associated with urban Chicago. The chapter takes note of how the farthest nature reserves and wildlife parks were mostly visited by affluent families during vacation and that working-class Chicagoans typically stayed home. However, this lack of means does not imply that these Chicagoans were far from nature as they found it from the green spaces in the city. A member of the working class, Dubkin wrote stories about his adventures with “urban nature.”

Keywords:   urban landscapes, Chicago, Leonard Dubkin, Lake Michigan, forest preserves, working-class Chicagoans, urban nature

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