Guiseppi Garibaldi Monument, 1901
1502 West Polk Street
Guiseppi Garibaldi (1807-1882) was an Italian military and political figure who is considered one of Italy’s “fathers of the fatherland.” As an army general, he fought and commanded many military campaigns that let to the formation of a unified Italy.
In 1901, an Italian-American group calling itself Legione Garibaldi raised $12,000 for a statue to commemorate their national hero. It was unveiled on Columbus Day 1901 and, despite rainy weather, approximately 2,000 people gathered for the ceremony in Lincoln Park near old Lake Shore Drive (now Cannon Drive). Twice the statue has been moved to locations within Lincoln Park. The third location, near the South Pond in Lincoln Park, between Stockton and Lake Shore Drive, is where it remained until 1982.
Chicago’s Italian community has had a great reverence for Garibaldi, known as a “Redshirt” military strategist whose volunteers wore red shirts instead of uniforms.
On Chicago’s first Day of Rage demonstration in October 1969, the Weatherman faction of the Students for a Democratic Society chose the statue as a gathering point, noting that Garibaldi was a master of guerrilla warfare. In the mid-1970s, a group of prominent Chicagoans, including Oscar D’Angelo, the man known as “the Mayor of Little Italy,” asked that the statue be moved to McClaren Park in the Little Italy neighborhood. In 1979, the park was renamed Garibaldi Park and the bronze sculpture was placed on a new granite pedestal there in 1982.