Chicago River North / Chicago Rising from the Lake – by Milton Horn

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Chicago Rising from the Lake – by Milton Horn

 Location: Chicago River Esplanade / North bank of Chicago River

 Completed: 1954

The bronze, 12 x 7 foot sculpture weighs 3 1/2 tons. The sculpture is symbolic of the city of Chicago. The female figure represents Chicago. She stands hip-deep into water, symbolizing Chicago emerging from the Lake Michigan. The waves also represent the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, so it also shows Chicago rising like a phoenix from the flames that once destroyed it. The sheaf of wheat, bull and eagle reference Chicago’s historic role as a center of commerce, the livestock market and air transportation, respectively. Floral forms evoke the city motto, “Urbs in Horto” or “City in a Garden.” Finally, the bronze ring arching across the relief represents Chicago’s central geography within the United States. it is said that his wife Estelle was Milton Horn’s “muse,” who served as the model for Chicago Rising from the Lake.

Stories of Lost and Found sculptures.. click here..



Chicago Rising From the Lake - by Milton Horn

Chicago Rising From the Lake – by Milton Horn



Chicago Rising from the Lake – by Milton Horn

Was lost for 15 years.

In 1953 Milton Horn received a commission by the city of Chicago, [Department of Public Works] for the creation of this sculpture. It was completed in 1954. In 1955, it was installed in a parking garage at 11 W. Wacker Drive. In 1983, the garage was razed, and the sculpture was moved to a city’s storage facility. From here it was moved again, and found in 1988 in a dry swimming pool. It was lost again, and found again in 1997, by a Chicago firefighter, in a storage yard, covered under wooden pallets. However the bronze bars were missing. After a $60,000 renovation [paid by a philanthropist], the sculpture was reinstalled, after 15 years being missing, in 1998 at its current location on the wall beneath the northwest corner of the Columbus Drive bridge along the Chicago Riverwalk.


For more stories of LOST and FOUND sculptures, click here..


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2 Comments to “Chicago River North / Chicago Rising from the Lake – by Milton Horn”

  1. Amanda says:

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing this information! I read about this in “Walking with Women Through Chicago History: 4 Self-Guided Tours” (1981) but could not find an image of it anywhere else. I’ll be quoting you in an upcoming blogpost. You might also enjoy this image of the universe centered on Chicago:×11

    Thanks again!

  2. […] I’m going to have to get a closer look, but until I do, I’ll quote Jyoti Srivastava’s description and explanation at the Public Art in Chicago blog: […]

  3. Rachelle says:

    Thanks for sharing! It’s so fortunate that this was restored. We’ll have to walk by and see it.

    Chicago Balloon Arch & Party Decorators

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