Openlands Dedicates the Henry T. Chandler, Jr. Bridge

October 27, 2014

Openlands’ board, supporters, and staff joined together to dedicate the Henry T. Chandler, Jr. Bridge at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve on October 21, 2014.

Referred to as “Harry” by everyone who knew him, he spent much of his life dedicated to improving the living conditions for all. Among many pursuits, Harry served on the Openlands board, as chair of Access Living, and as a board member of the Chicago Transit Authority.  He valued his personal and family connections to nature and the outdoors and knew that everyone needed special places where they could recreate and meditate no matter where they lived or no matter their age, ability, or background. Harry and Dr. Henry Betts, of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, arranged for Openlands to meet with doctors and stroke survivors at the Rehab Institute to share the Preserve’s trail plans and ask for input. Their insights and suggestions influenced the final plans in significant ways.

The wooden bridge that was dedicated provides Preserve visitors unparalleled bluff-top access, opportunities for treetop birding, and panoramic views of Lake Michigan.

But even more important than the physical experience of this structure, this bridge represents Harry’s vision for the Preserve. The Preserve is that “bridge” for so many to enjoy the raw beauty, including lakeshore, ravine, and oak savannah, of our region’s natural environment.  Harry loved the outdoors and enabled that connection for so many.  As Harry’s father, Henry Chandler, Sr. said at the dedication, “His wish would be for you to come again, be quiet, and enjoy what is here.”

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