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The park contains performance venues, gardens, art work, sporting, and harbor facilities. The original plans for the town of Chicago left the area east of Michigan Avenue unsubdivided and vacant, and purchasers of Michigan Avenue lots were promised that it would remain unoccupied.It hosts public gatherings, and several large annual events. When the former Fort Dearborn Reserve became part of the townsite in 1839, the plan of the area east of Michigan Avenue south of Randolph was marked "Public ground.Forever to remain vacant of buildings." The city officially designated the land as a park on April 29, 1844, naming it Lake Park.

The resulting lagoon became stagnant, and was largely filled in 1871 with debris from the Great Chicago Fire, increasing the parkland.

In 1896, the city began extending the park into the lake with landfill, beyond the rail lines.

On October 9, 1901, the park was renamed Grant Park in honor of American Civil War commanding General and United States President Ulysses S. At the 1868 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Grant had been nominated for his first presidential term.

The legal restrictions prohibiting any buildings in the park were ignored in the 19th century, as various civic buildings were sited there.

Grant Park is a large urban park (319 acres or 1.29 km²) in the Loop community area of Chicago.

Located in Chicago's central business district, the park's most notable features are Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.Originally known as Lake Park, and dating from the city's founding, it was renamed in 1901 to honor Ulysses S. The park's area has been expanded several times through land reclamation, and was the focus of several disputes in the late 19th century and early 20th century over open space use.It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road and Mc Fetridge Drive, on the west by Michigan Avenue and on the east by Lake Michigan.At various times, a post office, exposition center, armory, and even an early home field of the baseball club now known as the Chicago Cubs were built in the park.A 1904 plan prepared by the Olmsted Brothers recommended locating the Field Museum as the park's centerpiece, an idea integrated into Daniel Burnham and Edward H. In the early 20th century, Grant Park was expanded with further landfill — much of it from the excavations of the Chicago Tunnel Company — and developed with a very formal landscape design by Edward Bennett.More landfill in the 1910s and 1920s provided sites for the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Shedd Aquarium, which were linked together as the Museum Campus in 1998.