North Avenue Beach
The Chess Pavilion is located in Lincoln Park just east of Lake Shore Drive at the North Avenue beach. If you are walking along Lake Michigan (going north from Oak Street beach) you will come to it just before you reach Phil Stefani’s Castaways Bar & Grill.
The Pavilion was built in 1957 at a cost of about $90,000 with funds donated by Laurens Hammond, Chairman of the Board of the Hammond Organ Company. Since the early 1930’s this has been a popular summertime gathering spot for chess players of all skill levels to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful sights of the lake and city while playing a “friendly” game of chess. Be careful though, the games tend to get a little competitive.
Maurice Webster was the architect for this mostly cement and limestone structure. Boris Gilbertson (1907 – 1982) created the bas-relief components, carvings and the 3-dimentional free-standing king and queen sculptures. Rising five feet tall these chess pieces watch over the players within the wing-like work of art. The bishop and knight are each carved into the limestone at the lower corners of the pavilion. There is also a wall at the base of the structure with incised carvings representing all of the different pieces in chess.