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Bloomingdale Trail Observatory Reopens, East End Barrier Gets More Lush

By Alisa Hauser | September 24, 2015 9:50am
 The circular lookout at the far end of The 606 had reopened, as of Sept. 24.  The area closed in mid-July for renovations.
606 Observatory Reopens
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HUMBOLDT PARK — A pinwheel-shaped observatory lookout at the far western end of The Bloomingdale Trail has reopened after being closed to the public for the past two months.

The reopening — at Ridgeway and Bloomingdale avenues — was marked with a "Scopes in the City" viewing of the moon on Wednesday night using telescopes provided by Adler Planetarium astronomers.

Meanwhile, on the eastern end of the 2.7-mile-long elevated path, the focus of The 606 string of parks, the sound barrier is lush with with new plantings.



The 606's sound barrier wall at the eastern end along Marshfield Avenue.

The 606 opened in June. In mid-July, the observatory closed for renovations that were expected to take a couple of weeks but lasted much longer as masonry workers enhanced the trail's circular lookout.

The pinwheel-shaped mound now features "narrow-gage steps" that will allow children easier access to the top if they choose not to use a ramp. Initially covered with temporary sod for The 606's opening day, the observatory has been bare for the past few months.

Though the circular structure is currently bare, officials said earlier this week that landscaping, such as spring bulbs and grasses, will be added next.

The temporary closure was for stone delivery and placement of solstice elements in the mainline path.   Workers on Tuesday appeared to be wrapping up stone inlays that spell out the words "spring" and "fall," referring to "solstice" and "equinox," or the days of the year when seasons begin and days get longer or shorter.

 The 606's sound barrier wall at the eastern end of the 2.7-mile long trail is looking very lush as new plantings continue to grow.
The 606's sound barrier wall at the eastern end of the 2.7-mile long trail is looking very lush as new plantings continue to grow.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser


Looking east from atop the observatory around 7 a.m. Thursday. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

An aerial view of the observatory on opening day, June 6, 2016.  [The 606/Facebook]

In other 606 news, a "People's Promenade" is set for 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and will offer family-friendly activities at three of trail's ground-level parks, including a jazz sextet, "poetry to order" and word games.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, an end-to-end walk starting at Walsh Park in Bucktown will conclude at the Western trailhead in Humboldt Park. Free popcorn, apples and cider will be available, according to the Art Blitz schedule.

Planning a visit to The Bloomingdale Trail?

Know where to get on or off The 606:  Four of the Bloomingdale Trail's 12 access points are via ground-level parks: Walsh Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave.; Churchill Park, 1825 N. Damen Ave.; Julia de Burgos Park, 1805 N. Albany Ave.; and Park 567, 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave.

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