Thursday, June 20, 2019. Riverwalk is a water level promenade on both sides of the Chicago River begun in 2001. This was the first time I had experienced its full extent. The Chicago River here runs through a chasm of skyscrapers — developed in Chicago, the first “skyscraper” is generally identified as Chicago’s Home Insurance Building (1883). It is one of the most dazzling displays of architecture to be seen anywhere. (Worth noting, the bridges are all draw bridges that interrupt traffic in and out of the Loop (the downtown business center) when they are raised for boats.