Season’s Greetings from the GMR
Inspired by Daniel Burnham’s Plan for Chicago, Municipal Pier No. 2, as Navy Pier was originally known, was built beginning in 1914 and opened to the public in 1916. It was designed to serve as a huge freight terminal to encourage lake shipping and as a gathering place for the people of Chicago, with an auditorium and an open-air promenade where citizens could attend carnivals or even free lectures given by the City’s Health Department. Lake shipping never took off as the city had hoped, and in 1927, to honor those who served in the U.S. Navy during World War I, Chicago changed the name of Municipal Pier No. 2 to Navy Pier.
In 1941, just months before America entered the war, the U.S. Navy transformed the Pier into a Naval Training School where about 60,000 men were trained. Pilots would fly from Glenview Naval Air Station and practice landing on air craft carriers by the Pier. Among them was future president, George H. W. Bush. In1946, the Navy turned control of the Pier over to the City of Chicago and the University of Illinois.
In 1944 Congress passed the “Servicemen’s Readjustment Act,” better known as the G.I. Bill, which offered subsidies for home purchases, business startup costs, hospitalization, and education. To meet the demand for education in Illinois, a new branch campus of the University of Illinois opened on Navy Pier on October 21, 1946. The Chicago Undergraduate Division (or CUD) was born.
A permanent campus was created at Harrison and Halsted, named the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (UICC) and opened in February 1965. In 1982, the Medical Center and Circle Campus consolidated to form what we know today as the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
For more information about the history of the University of Illinois at Chicago, please see History of the University of Illinois at Chicago: http://www.uic.edu/depts/uichistory/index.html.
Photo Credit: Chuckman’s Collecction (Chicago Postcards) Volume 4: Navy Pier MID-1960s http://chuckmancollectionvolume4.blogspot.com/2011/11/postcard-chicago-navy-pier-as.html