The Fascinating History of Navy Pier

There are so many attractions in the great city of Chicago that it’s practically impossible to see it all in one weekend. But, for those limited on time while in the Windy City, Navy Pier is always a top priority. From its iconic Ferris wheel to its serene Crystal Gardens to its multitude of restaurants, Navy Pier has become a top destination in downtown Chicago.

Navy Pier

But how did Navy Pier become what it is today? Here’s a brief history of Navy Pier.

Navy Pier’s origins began in 1909 when city planner Daniel Burnham had the idea to build several recreational piers in Chicago. Only one was eventually built, costing $4.5 million (a lot of money back then!) and opening in 1916. At that time it was called Municipal Pier. It became a hub of entertainment in the rollicking 1920s and even survived through the Great Depression.

Interestingly, during the World Wars, the US military housed regiments of soldiers, Home Defense personnel, and Red Cross efforts on the pier. That’s why it was renamed Navy Pier in 1927 to honor the Navy veterans.

Over the next decades, it was the site of numerous conventions but after a fire tore through it, the pier fell into disuse by 1971.

Luckily, it was declared a historic landmark by the city in 1977 and the following decades were spent renovating Navy Pier into a $150 million attraction that was re-launched in 1995.

Next time you’re in Chicago, spend an afternoon at Navy Pier. And if you have time for a second place, visit us at Friendly Ford!

Holiday Events in Roselle and Beyond

In our beautiful village of Roselle, tradition truly does meet tomorrow during the holidays. If you’re looking for holiday events in Roselle and the Chicago area, you won’t have to travel far to find the holiday spirit. Here are some of our favorite events here at Friendly Ford:

ZooLights at the Lincoln Zoo

At the top of our list is a must-see for the whole family. The ZooLights at the Lincoln Zoo is a spectacle that you won’t soon forget.  Lit up on November 29th, this twinkling wonderland will continue to shine each night until January 5th (closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). ZooLights is a free event, so bring the kids on to meet Santa and some of his wild zoo friends. For more information, visit http://www.lpzoo.org/.

Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest

The outdoors a bit chilly for you? How about a winter wonderland that takes place entirely indoors? The Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest does just that, featuring carnival rides and ice skating amid the sights and sounds of the season. Marvel at the themed Christmas trees decorated by community groups, meet Santa, and even take part in the Craft Corner and Winter WonderTown. Visit http://www.winterwonderfest.com for more information on this magical event.

Holiday Exhibition Roller Derby Bout

Sure, hot cocoa and glittering lights are nice, but some people need a little more excitement in their holiday season. Here in Roselle, the Derby Dames will be competing in their Christmas best at Coachlite Skate Center. As The Griswolds, The McCallisters, The Red Ryders, and The Leg Lamps, they are going to zip, tackle, and scream holiday spirit this Saturday at 5:30pm. For more information, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/516839.