Chicago Harbors Already Getting Ready for Summer

It’s officially spring, but you’d never know it around here. While we’re still freezing our Vienna Sausages off, preparations are already underway for the summer boating season.

Chicago Harbors is busy with the first of three phases of a seven million dollar renovation across the city’s 6,000-slip harbor network, which is supposed to be the largest in the world, if you believe Wikipedia.

Burnham Harbor dock replacement. (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)
Burnham Harbor dock replacement. (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!)

As you can see in the photograph above, shot from NEMA Chicago by Joe Zekas at YoChicago!, crews aboard the Poseidon and Thatcher barges are busy at work in Burnham Harbor.

The P, Q, and R docks have been removed from the harbor, as their steel frames were twisted and damaged by storms over the years. They will be replaced by new docks with much heavier frames, new high-tech decking with a 25-year guarantee, and new electrical pedestals at each slip. These pedestals are upgraded from the old ones, with special outlets for electric grills, and wired high-speed internet so you can make strangers jealous of your float on InstaFaceTube.

Those docks, along with the S dock; and the docks down at 59th Street Harbor will also get fancy new gates like the ones at 31st Street and Diversey harbors.

Phase two starts in the fall, and involves more new gates at Jackson Park Harbor, and a new floating toilet at Burnham Harbor. Another InstaFaceTube moment waiting to happen.

Phase three comes in the spring of next year, which will be 2020 already. Instead of driving flying cars, wearing silver spandex, and fighting mutants in the wastelands surrounding New Chicago, as promised by MeTV, we’ll look forward to dock renovations at Jackson Park’s outer harbor, which will also get a floating device to cut down on waves. Which is probably much more useful to Chicago’s boaters than silver spandex.

Location: 1559 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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