Rainbow Beach Park was named after the United States 42nd Infantry Division, which was known as the Rainbow Division. Although there are several theories about derivation of the nickname, it is widely believed that name came from a statement made by General Douglas McArthur. Comprised of National Guard Units from twenty-six states and the District of Columbia, McArthur once remarked, “the 42nd Division stretches like a Rainbow from one end of America to the other.”
First established in 1917, the Rainbow Division fought in World War I. Reactivated for World War II, the division landed in France at the Port of Marseilles in 1944, and then moved into Germany and captured several German towns. The Rainbow Division liberated tens of thousands of prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp the following year.
A group of veterans installed this large granite tablet with a bronze plaque honoring the Rainbow Division in 1967. Chicago Park District in-house architects designed the semi-circular granite slab to evoke the shape of a rainbow. Several years later, the plaque was stole. In response to the vandalism, the Illinois Chpater of the Rainbow Division Veterans hired a monument company to engrave the text directly onto the granite in 1977. Today, the memorial remains on the west side of the park near E. 77th Street.
Location: East of South Shore Drive near E. 77th Street