The Chicago Parks Foundation, in collaboration with the Chicago Park District and community members, starting a conversation about the restoration of the historic Balbo Monument. Believed to be one of the oldest monuments in the Chicago Park Districts care, this column represents Italian-American culture and legacy in Chicago.
About the Balbo Monument
One of the highlights of the Chicago’s World Fair in 1933 occurred when Italian aviator Italo Balbo led the first transatlantic flight from Rome to Chicago, landing on the shores of Lake Michigan near Grant Park. To commemorate the flight and honor Balbo, a 2,000 year old Roman column was sent from an ancient port city of Rome and installed at the fair’s Italian Pavilion in 1934. The Balbo Monument is the only remaining structure from the Century of Progress and is one of the oldest sculptures in the United States. It remains standing near Soldier Field and is need of professional conservation and increased protection.