Like many large American cities in the early 1900s, Chicago's industrialization and waves of immigration spawned crowded, unhealthy urban conditions. The Prairie Club turned to nature for relief from these societal ills. From its first outing on Saturday, April 18, 1908, around Mount Forest District near Willow Springs, members sponsored hikes and outdoor activities from Palos and Tinley, through Hinsdale and Downers Grove, and up to the North Shore. With each of these walks, public support grew for what ultimately became victorious efforts to establish the forest preserves, Indiana Dunes, and other nature spots around the burgeoning cityscape.
Chicago, Illinois, is the largest city on the Great Lakes. The Progressive Movement grew out of belief, following the Gilded Age, the government could and should do more to promote the common welfare.