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Millennium Park / U.S. Equities Realty Collection

Identifier: spe-mp-user

Scope and Contents

The U.S. Equities Realty Collection consists of sixteen CDs with over 6,000 photographs that document construction of most major sites in Millennium Park between 1999 and 2005. These sites include the Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion, Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, B.P. Pedestrian Bridge, and Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square. In addition to images of these sites, there are small groupings of photographs that show the Lurie Garden and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Plaza. Also available in this collection are general construction and full park shots. All photographs are digital and in color.

With funding from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation these photographs have been fully described. Over 5,000 were selected for the Library’s Millennium Park Digital Collection. The grant also provided resources to print the images on 8 x 10 Kodak Endura paper, which meets optimum preservation standards for color prints.

In addition to the photographs, the collection has one folder with reproductions of informational panels displayed outside the tent that covered Cloud Gate during the final polishing and sanding in 2004 and 2005.


  • Creation: circa 1999 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions. 

Biographical / Historical

U.S. Equities Realty is an international commercial real estate firm, headquartered in Chicago, with a demonstrated passion for art and architecture. Since its founding in 1978 by Robert A. Wislow and Camille P. Julmy, the company has been responsible for a number of major projects in Chicago, including the development of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, co-development of One Financial Place in Chicago, and the redevelopment of the John Hancock Center and Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower.

In spring 1999, U.S. Equities Realty was retained by Millennium Park Inc., the group representing the Park’s private donors. In this role the company managed the entire design and engineering phases of the Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry, as well as Gehry’s B.P. Pedestrian Bridge. The latter is the first Gehry-designed bridge ever built.

In addition to managing the Frank Gehry projects, U.S. Equities Realty oversaw the extremely intricate engineering and fabrication of Anish Kapoor’s monumental Cloud Gate as well as the design, construction and production of Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain. The firm also acted as the donor group’s advocate on all city-administered work and construction affecting the Park’s enhancements.

In addition to development and project management, U.S. Equities provides asset management and leasing services, real estate consulting and financial and investment services. Its Chicago headquarters, directly across from Millennium Park, boasts original works of art, including paintings, prints and sculpture by over 100 artists; through its Artist in Residence program, U.S. Equities commissions artists to create original pieces, which are then reproduced in limited edition books.


80 Linear Feet (in 99 boxes)

Language of Materials



U.S. Equities Realty was retained to act as owners’ representative for many of the enhancements to Millennium Park. These photographs document the development and construction of the major sites in Millennium Park. All of these photographs are digital and in color. Photographs from this collection are available in the Library’s Millennium Park Digital Collection.


The images have been arranged by site and then by "chapters" that describe the stages of construction:

Crown Fountain: Renderings and Models... Crown Fountain: Water Feature Tests... Crown Fountain: Tower Construction...

The dates of the photographs were extracted from automatically generated metadata that accompanied the digital photographs. In some cases these dates refer to the date the photos were downloaded from the camera, rather than the date they were taken. Photographs with no date in the metadata were assigned a "circa" date based on the original file name and by reviewing similar images.

Each photograph is assigned a unique number; for example, Cloud Gate 2003.4.21.3. This photograph of Cloud Gate was taken in 2003 on April 21st and is the third image made that day.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The U.S. Equities Realty Collection was donated to the Chicago Public Library in 2006 by U.S. Equities Realty.

Existence and Location of Copies

Originally donated as digital images on CDs, these images were printed and are also available in our digital collections at

Related Materials

  • Chicago City-Wide Collection
  • Chicago Park District Records: Photographs
  • Chicago Park District Records: Drawings
  • Illinois Central Railroad Photograph Album
  • Millennium Park, Inc. Archives


For further information about U.S. Equities Realty, researchers are encouraged to consult the company’s website at

For a brief history of Millennium Park, researchers are encouraged to go Millennium Park’s website at This site also has overviews of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the B.P. Pedestrian Bridge, Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain and Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square.

For a detailed history of the Park, researchers can read Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, published in 2006 by the University of Chicago Press. F548.65.M55G55 2006.

For information about the construction of Millennium Park, researchers should consult Better Than Perfect: The Making of Chicago’s Millennium Park, by Robert Sharoff, privately published by Walsh Construction Company, W.E. O’Neill Construction Company and U.S. Equities Realty in 2004. F548.65.M55S43 2004.

For a thorough history of the international garden design competition for Lurie Garden, please see Constructed Ground: The Millennium Garden Design Competition by Charles Waldheim, published for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs by the University of Illinois Press in 2001. SB466.U65C568 2001.
Guide to the Millennium Park / U.S. Equities Realty Collection
Processed by Morag Walsh, 2008-2009. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Johanna Russ and Roslyn Mabry, 2022-2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Processed through a grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation which was awarded to the Chicago Public Library Foundation in 2007. The photographs in this collection are courtesy of U.S. Equities Realty and the men and women who built Millennium Park.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository

Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States
(312) 747-4875