May 04, 2011

East of the Vintage Outer Drive

Points of Local Interest:
1. Mason's Rock
2. The Trail Along the Lakefront
3. Javis Bird Sanctuary
4. The Monuments
5. The Real Estate East of the Drive
6. The Lincoln Park Bridle Path
7. The Belmont Harbor Rocks
8. The Gay Bay
9. AIDS Garden Chicago
10. The Rifle Gun Club
11. Lost Art on Limestone Rocks
12. The Diversey Driving Range/Mini-Golf
13. The Diversey Tennis Center
14. A New Soccer Field

poster - Studio Chris
The Mason Rock
 According to this 1901 article there was this mysterious meteor-sized boulder that sat on Parker R Mason's property along the existing lake shore. As far as anyone can remember - 40 odd years, no one can remember how the rock got there and the reason for it there; but there is was sitting as if just placed their on the shoreline. Parker Mason was reported to be a odd man who apparently keep to himself and love to tinker with objects in his laboratory. He owned an illicit distillery company according to a 1876 Chicago Daily News article while owning large tracts of land in Lake View. By 1899, according to an article, he is regarded as one of the pioneer distilleries in Chicago - our very own.

The Man, Parker R. Mason
Chicago Daily News Feb 8,1899
The Trail Along the Lakefront 
a 2011 virtual tour
image - Chicago Park District
Somewhere along the path of the park in the year 2000
University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000
entrance or exit to our hood's trail
R.Josh via Yelp 2015
endless path along the shore
R.Josh via Yelp 2015
Kwanusila Totem Pole
R. Josh via Yelp 2015
2016 photo - Scott Cummings
Lake Shore Drive was widen & expanded during the years between 1937-1941
photo - University of Illinois-Chicago: Images of Change
2016 Google view
protesting a 2 dollar fee to use the courts in 1972
photo above - Calumet 412
photo - via Yo Chicago
 Heading northeast to Waveland Clock Tower 
R.Josh via Yelp 2015
photo - James S via Yelp
from LakeView Historical-Facebook

Waveland Clock Tower 
R.Josh via Yelp 2015
Carina Saways via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook 
Tony Minard via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
Clock Tower Cafe R. Josh via Yelp 2015
View more of R. Josh photos along the entire path via Yelp!
2016 photo - Manny Manotas Velez 
via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
photo via Growing up in Chicago-Facebook
the former bridle path east of building
photo - Wikipedia
 pdf images from Chicago Park District
(try to find & follow the red dots)
According the Chicago Park District ‘Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail welcomes residents and visitors from around the City. Running from Ardmore Avenue on the north, to 71st Street on the south, the trail provides important access to the lake for recreational purposes and has increasingly become an active transportation route for many Chicagoans. On any given day activity along the trail includes people commuting to work, training for marathons, caregivers with children in strollers, tourists on rental bikes, teens on skateboards, and thousands of other people taking a leisurely stroll.’
the new path
According to the Chicago SunTimes 2018 article 'the goal of the work is to lessen the chances for collisions on one of the nation’s busiest trails, used by 100,000 people a day on summer weekends. A $12 million gift from billionaire Ken Griffin - Illinois’ richest man and an avid cyclist - will cover the cost of the trail-separation project north and south of the Navy Pier Flyover.'

Javis Bird Sanctuary 
main entrance to the sanctuary
photo - Max Herman TimeOut Chicago
photo - Geoff Williamson, Sierra Club Field Trip 
with more photos of that particular 2011 trip
unlabeled aerial view vs labeled view
Jarvis Bird Sanctuary and its mission
is located at the northern tip of Belmont Harbor
In the early 1920’s a patch of land just east and north of Belmont Yacht Harbor was still a marshy usable section of land.  A sanctuary for wildlife was created during the Lincoln Park (the park) extension of the early 20th century.
According to Wikipedia, Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, formerly Lincoln Park Addison Migratory Bird Sanctuary. First landscaped and constructed with limited public access in the 1920’s, under the leadership of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, its spring is supplied with city water to mimic a natural lake marsh environment, with attendant forest and meadow environments. Most of its 7-acre (2.8 ha) area is entirely fenced around to preserve the habitat from human encroachment. Instead, a nature trail and a viewing platform are at its surrounding perimeter. During the 1940’s, its Park District caretakers lost funding and the site was padlocked. In 1968, the entire site was almost bulldozed for golf course development but its Lake View neighbors, including Bill Jarvis, led a successful campaign to save and restore it. Today it hosts more than 150 species of birds, including six species of herons, like the black crowned night heron; wood ducks; woodcock; hawks; yellow-billed cuckoos; hummingbirds; thrushes; vireos; 34 species of warblers; and 18 native species of sparrows. In addition, small mammals such as rabbit, opossum, raccoon, and occasionally fox and coyote make their home there. View it with this YouTube link.
Volunteers at work 
Volunteers working the field in 2010
"With assistance from a lovely tree.
my hands were on two fallen branches
that were stuck in thick, swampy mud."
Kelly Weime photo as him as an adventurous volunteer
Read about the volunteer efforts in 2014 via DNAinfo
Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary steward 
photo - DNAinfo
Charlotte Newfeld poses inside the sanctuary's heated shelter. Volunteers work at the shelter two times a month every month of the year. The sanctuary dates to 1923, when the North Parks Commission set aside 5-1/2 acres of recent landfill. Due to that landfill Belmont Yacht Harbor was open to the public in 1913. After reading this post read more about the harbor in another post called Belmont Yacht Harbor Moments as well as the Chicago Tribune coverage of it in press photos and lastly when the harbor was used during the sailboat races to Mackinac Island.
Depiction - Oil by Timothy Rees
The official recognition of this patch of land was not mandated until 1968 when the Chicago Park District established jurisdiction. While the CPD established ownership the sanctuary upkeep was to be manage by ecological friendly citizens of the area under the stewardship of the Lake View Citizens Council - an umbrella organization of the neighborhood civic associations in this area. As of 2001 the sanctuary was expanded to include flora and fauna collection (the word 'flora' can include flowers, bushes, trees and other plants and fauna includes birds, insects, arthropods, reptiles, amphibians and mammals). An observation platform is located on the lakeside and outside the enclosed fencing. The area was named after an advert bird-watcher and sanctuary activist Bill Jarvis.
photo - Chicago Park District
Sierra Club @ Javis observation deck - 2011
In 2009 the patrons of the sanctuary 'crossed hairs' with the city of Chicago and the Chicago 2116 Olympic Committee.  The Committee was planning to install a massive tennis center next to the sanctuary.  After several heated debates between residents and the city officials it was finally decided that the center would be built. Luckily, the peacefulness of the sanctuary was secured by the failed attempt by the city's Olympic Committee for permission to have the Olympics located here that following year. 
The Maintenance - Fall
typical Fall prep for Winter
photo - their web site 
The Maintenance - Winter
Winter volunteer remove non-indigenous tree
photo - DNAinfo
The Maintenance - Spring
 photo - their website
 photo - their website
an installation of a bird house
Sierra Club Birding & Nature Walk 2012
at this sanctuary
Solitary Sandpiper by KristinChicago on Flickr

Bring someone who can act as a guide for your group
Sierra Club @ Javis - photo 2011
According the the sanctuary's management if you plan to volunteer and help maintain the area "come prepared for clearing brush and planting seeds, and might just catch a glimpse of  birds like chickadees, juncos and coopers hawks. Binoculars and instruction in how to use them will be available during break times". Explore the photography of this sanctuary via Flickr  ... well worth it!
 There are other official sites like Javis in the city
a 'Carolina Wren' - DNAinfo
Read this article from DNAinfo about all the local location sightings when traveling south of the winter months.
The Monuments along the Shore:
 The Kwa̱nu’sila
2016 photo - Judith Geisenheimer Saistone 
via Picture of Chicago-Facebook
Ceremony preparing for its travel to the lakefront - 1929
Dedication of Kwanusila Totem Pole - 1929

Dedication of Kwanusila (The Thunderbird) - 1929
-photo from Calumet 412 Collection 

How many countless runners have run by it; made a momentary gaze at it while thoughtless running beyond it?

Postcard front and back 1930 postmark
- CowCard via Max Rigot Selling Company
The World's Columbian Exposition was in 1893 and Century of Progress Exposition was 1933. The card reads Chicago World's Fair 1933 and the postmark reads 1930 on both sides. Interesting collectors item. 
The Background Story
Kwakiutl Totem Pole begins with the tradition of the Kwakiutl community in western British Columbia, Canada.  The Kwakiutl tribe were renowned for their woodcarving skills, including not only totem poles, but also elaborately carved and painted masks. Somehow James L. Kraft, the founder of Kraft Inc.(Chicago based company) acquired a totem pole and later donated it to Chicago Park District in 1929. The pole was originally 40 feet tall and carved from a single cedar logIn 1985 the original totem pole was returned to Canada and sits in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
The below Chicago Tribune articles below tell a story of a donation to Chicago Park District that would later become an epicenter of Native American protest at the site and along the Belmont Harbor. 
A Donation 1929
Vandalism in 1972
'The city was not kind to the sculptural landmark. The victim of carpenter ants, vandals, and the normal processes of weathering and decay, the Lincoln Park pole has undergone more than a dozen modifications since 1929. All of this restoration has been done under the direction of Kraft, since it was arranged at the time of presentation that the company would continue to assume the task of maintenance.
In 1958 the arm positions of the pole's human figure were changed because rotting had occurred in the arm sockets; one hand was moved so that it covered the figure's eyes. (A visitor observed that the figure no longer had to watch the spectacle of rush hour traffic which passed before it.) In 1966 the pole was drastically renovated: the sea monster at the base, the Thunderbird at the top, and the human figure were re-curved by skilled Kraft workers. Their work appears to be a faithful attempt at restoration, but the painted symbols were inaccurately reproduced. The significance of features in the original painting, which had been more elaborate, could never have been appreciated by a restorer unacquainted with Northwest Coast art. A Kraft supervisor of the restoration has suggested that Kraft workers trying to copy the intricate symbols perhaps didn't realize how important it was to duplicate features with great accuracy. The original painted symbols on the pole have almost totally disappeared.'
- Living History of Illinois and Chicago (see link above)
The Last Day for the Original
(click on article to enlarge)
'In 1958 the arm positions of the pole's human figure were changed because rotting had occurred in the arm sockets; one hand was moved so that it covered the figure's eyes. (A visitor observed that the figure no longer had to watch the spectacle of rush hour traffic which passed before it.) In 1966 the pole was drastically renovated: the sea monster at the base, the Thunderbird at the top, and the human figure were re-carved by skilled Kraft workers. Their work appears to be a faithful attempt at restoration, but the painted symbols were inaccurately reproduced. The significance of features in the original painting, which had been more elaborate, could never have been appreciated by a restorer unacquainted with Northwest Coast art. A Kraft supervisor of the restoration has suggested that Kraft workers trying to copy the intricate symbols perhaps didn't realize how important it was to duplicate features with great accuracy. The original painted symbols on the pole have almost totally disappeared.'
The Replacement

Its replica like the original stands today still in the same place of the original along Lake Shore Drive north of the Belmont Harbor in front of the Jarvis Bird Sanctuary (post on this).
Note: View the post about the bird sanctuary within this blog for information on it. And check out this YouTube video on the other totem poles of North America.
The Renovation of the Replica 2017
photo by James Mick Ryan
The Alarm
Ebay unknown date
It would appear that the monument was moved from the main park space to north of Diversey Harbor and east of LSD. I am guessing this move was due to reconfiguration of the park 
and expansion of LSD 1937-1941
5 above images - Online Archive of California
Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson & Burnham Archives: Archival Image Collection - SAIC Libraries 
zoomed image below
“The Alarm" is among the drive's lesser-known monuments and worth a closer look. This tribute to members of the Ottawa tribe depicts a Native-American family with their dog who appear to be on alert for possible danger. The monument, built in 1884 by sculptor John J. Boyle, stands on a stretch of park on the Lake Michigan side of Lake Shore Drive parallel with Wellington Avenue. The statue was commissioned by fur trader Martin Ryerson, who worked with the Ottawa tribe. The base has granite tablets etched with Native-American scenes and a plaque with a dedication by Ryerson that reads: "To the Ottawa Nation of Indians, my early friends."
located just north of Diversey Harbor
and just south of Diversey Parkway
The statue was commissioned by fur trader Martin Ryerson, who worked with the Ottawa tribe. 
The base has granite tablets etched with Native-American scenes and a plaque with a dedication by Ryerson that reads: "To the Ottawa Nation of Indians, my early friends."
Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson & Burnham Archives: Archival Image Collection - SAIC libraries.
 Chuckman Collection - 1911
 A 1894 article that record the process of acceptance 
- edited into 5 parts for clarity 
Judge Tree's Letter to Lincoln Park Board of Commissioners
Judge Tree purchased the statue for the LPBC 
 Letter of Acceptance from the president of 
Lincoln Park Board Commissioners
An editorial from the writer of this article 
The sculptors speech 
Its locations prior to this 1918 Chicago Daily Tribune mention
image - Ebay
photos - Tony Minard via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
The Spirit of the American Doughboy
removed to unknown location or destroyed
image - Online Archive of California
Honoring men and women who served in World War I. Erected in 1927 and removed by 1946. It was located along Lake Shore Drive parallel to Briar Place. 
Also, read about all the official monuments in Chicago
The Real Estate East of the Outer Drive 
By 1925 the city began to develop the North-Lake Shore Drive from Cornelia to Montrose Avenue with real estate that included the Waveland Park space. 
Waveland Clock Tower unknown date
photo - James D. via Foursquare
Let's Golf! 1926
page 2
The Ice Rink 1941
later that year 1941
 (click on article to enlarge)
page 2
Sydney R. Marovitz Field House and Golf Course
(still referred to as Waveland Golf Course by locals)
photo Flickr contributor Duane Rapp
photo - Yo Chicago
Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course - Karen Thall 
to be forever known as Waveland Golf Course
along with a Flickr view of the field house in 1988
The Gateway to the Lakefront
2 photos - Ruth Sackheim
The running path beyond this gate 
once used for horse riding in the mid-century
beyond the Waveland Clock Tower
The path once had issues before 2012 - erosion
photo - Alderman Cappleman's 46th ward website
2015 photo - Sydney Marovitz Golf Course-Facebook
 2019 photos - Paul Otto via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
a 2010 photo below from
Patrick Gainer, Living History of Illinois and Chicago
from Block Club Chicago

'The abandoned Waveland Clock Tower building, once used by golfers as a locker room, will soon be home to a youth development facility and after-school golfing program. First Tee Greater Chicago, a youth golfing initiative of the World Golf Foundation, broke ground in January on a project to convert part of the 89-year-old clocktower building into the program’s youth clubhouse. The 1,250-square-foot facility, 3701 N. Recreation Drive, will house a learning center, lounge and golf simulator open to all kids and teens enrolled in First Tee throughout the year. It will also have outdoor areas designated for putting, full-swing and short game practice.' 

The Lincoln Park Gun Club
the building was demo'ed by 1995
above photo - Daily News Archives 1929 
You can view of men standing on a lawn in front of the Lincoln Park Gun Club in the Lake View community just north of Diversey Harbor - 2901 N. Lake Shore Drive. The building is visible in the background, and people are standing and sitting at tables on the lawn and on a path behind the lawn.
Artist Ralph Rapien - Watercolor via Ebay
In the News in 1929
Urban Shooting in 1931
with more photos from the link above
images - Ebay 
History of the Gun Clubs: 
Their Beginnings in Chicago 
In the early 20th century, the elite families of Chicago built a remarkable shooting facility called the Lincoln Park Traps (LPT) on Chicago’s lakefront, where they had begun to play a new, unnamed sport. By 1918, it was common to hear the pop, pop, pop of gun fire on the lakefront, the sound of which was muffled by the big lake that absorbed and deadened the explosive sound of firing. But even before that time period Germans from Chicago traveled north to Wright Grove Woods as early as 1867 to enjoy the lively sport of sharp-shooting just north of the Chicago border (Fullerton Avenue) and within Lake View Township per this article.
(click on image to enlarge)
Chicagoans of all backgrounds enjoyed this sport that was started by Charles E. Davies, an avid grouse hunter, who invented a shooting game in 1915 using live pigeons. During the next decade, the game evolved and clay targets were used instead of pigeons. In 1926, a contest was held to name the Davies new rifle sport.  Gertrude Hurlbutt won the contest with the name “Skeet,” which is derived from the Scandinavian word for shoot. By the 1940's, Skeet was used by the U.S. military to teach novice gunners the principle of leading and timing flying targets. The Lincoln Park Traps was formed by the upper class of Chicago society. As the years went by, the LPT became a public entity and evolved into a very egalitarian facility. Everyone was welcome to shoot at Lincoln Park Traps, and it was common for Chicago’s plumbers and carpenters to shoot Skeet next to the city’s elite. The Lincoln Trap and Sheet Club was established in 1923 and incorporated on February 25, 1967 as the
Lincoln Rifle Club and Junior Division, Inc., a registered, non-profit organization. Since December of 1926, the LRC has been a proud active member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) with 100% of members belonging to the NRA.
photo - Craigs Lost Chicago

  photo - Calumet 412 
 Shooting towards the lake - Calumet 412 
1940 article - Benjamin Yolarski via 'Chicagoland Before We Were Born' - Facebook
mid 20th century negatives below - Ebay
 The Gun Club Ending Saga
photo - Tom Morrissey via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
"The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency sent us a letter saying it appears the Lincoln Park gun club was violating the law," says Nancy Kaszak, general counsel for the Chicago Park District, which owns the property on which the gun club operated, but not the private club... 
It was Fun & Easy in 1964
Demolished in 1991
"We did some investigation and came to the conclusion that the gun club was, in fact, violating eight statutes. They were, and are, shooting lead into the lake, and as a result, the Park District could be held liable." Kaszak recommended that if the gun club couldn't satisfy the legal requirements--which, apparently, it cannot--the Park District should evict it from its current site near the intersection of Diversey Parkway and Lake Shore Drive. The Park District's five board members agreed, and on September 14 they unanimously adopted a resolution that could shut the club sometime after January 1, 1989. "The weapon is a shotgun; it uses a shotgun shell. The powder in the shell is separated from the lead shot by wadding and contained within a casing. When you shoot the shotgun, it propels the shot out toward the clay pigeon; as part of that process, the wadding can be thrown out of the shell as well." Bathers and boaters frequently complain of shell waddings washing up on beaches and docks, Park District officials say. At least 400 tons of lead have settled on the lake bed just east of the gun club, not to mention the remnants of hundreds of thousands of clay pigeons. "We tested the clay pigeons and found traces of antimony, arsenic, nickel, lead, zinc, silver, and chromium in them," says Kaszak. "Now, I'm no environmental expert. But I am a lawyer. It is my job to protect the Park District against liability." -  Reader newspaper
photo - Joseph Schlesinger 
via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
"The gun club`s attorney, former 46th Ward Ald. Christopher Cohen, said the club is willing to erect a net or other device to catch the wads, or to use paper wads that explode into nonpolluting confetti. He said Scott Diving Service, of Niles, is willing to dredge the lake bottom near the gun club for free-as long as it gets to keep most of the lead it picks up." -  Chicago Tribune
“Apparently, the Park District board agrees. On September 14 they unanimously approved a resolution that gives the gun club 90 days to prove they are not violating any laws. If they can't prove that, they will have to close.”
-  The Reader newspaper
“Wads are no longer a problem and haven`t been since the inception of our one-cent-per-wad bounty program. More than a million wads were recovered last summer, effecting nearly 100 percent recovery.”Chicago Tribune
No matter, the club owners received and eviction notice in 1991 and the club closed and the building, years later, were demolished and replaced by green space.
The Lincoln Park Bridle Path
from Lincoln Park to Evanston
"It was extremely popular in the 40's and 50's. Many of Chicago's elite boarded their horses there and there were many horse shows held there each year. There was an entry into the park and every Sunday morning there would be breakfast rides by riders who would be in formal dress as they trotted around the bridle path."
- nancybc via Forgotten Chicago
1945 photo - Calumet 412
The runners path through the park were originally routes for equestrians either owners of a horse or rented one. By the end of the 20th century most of the paths had been paved over for the bike rider or runner so to reduce erosion and the number puddles. There were several horse stables along Lincoln Park - the park. Equestrians academies & stables dotted the lakefront landscape supported by shops in Lake View area that supplied equipment for the sport - shops were located on the 4425 N Broadway Avenue and the other on 4606 N Sheridan Road both called The Swiss Shop.
The construction of yacht harbors were important attractions for the equestrians much like roadhouses were in the 19th century when traveling in rural areas of Chicago or hotels near airports. Equestrians would stop at a clubhouse in the harbor area to rest or chat - maybe enjoy a meal or drink either for their horse or for themselves. 
An association was established in 1908 in Chicago so to create the 'rules of the road'; the proper use of the sport. Below are selected pages from their 1921 handbook. 
 page 1
the value of the sport for the rider
the value of the sport for the horse
for your health - p. 19
 Map of Lincoln Park District 1921 - p.61
Schools & Academies - insert
Lascot Riding School, 75 E. Walton Place
Telephone Superior 7160 
First Cavalry Riding Academy, 1330 N Clark Street
Telephone Superior 335 
Parkway Riding Academy, 2153 N Clark Street
Telephone Diversey 6140
Pemberton Sales Stables (No horses for hire)
No location/telephone mentioned 
North Shore Riding Academy, 2822 N Clark Street
Telephone Lakeview 8040 
Lincoln Riding Academy, 3008 N Clark Street
Telephone Wellington 4060 
Edgewater Riding Academy on Foster Avenue
Telephone Edgewater 1646 
Catalpa Riding Club (private), 1124 Catalpa Street
No telephone mentioned (No horses for hire) 
Birchwood Country Club, Devon Avenue
No telephone mentioned (No horses for hire) 
North Shore Polo Club, Lincoln & Peterson Avenue
No telephone mentioned 
plans for a clubhouse in Belmont Harbor 
- harbor was opened to the public in 1913
an advertisement within the booklet for Parkway p. 89
and supply stores p.18
a testimonial
 'murphman' via Forgotten Chicago 2013
"Growing up in Lake View in the seventies, I recall a young woman who rode a horse around the neighborhood - was a strange sight. She was very friendly and allowed us kids to pet the horse. Also I seem to remember she rode bareback. Doubt if you would see that today!"
Horses once roamed the lakefront from at least 22 stables from Hyde Park to Foster Avenue. The nearest to the neighborhood of Lake View was the 'New Pathway Stables' that was apparently established in the 1890's and closed in 1967 due to changing population attitude toward horseback riding. Apparently, the newer residents did not have the means to own or ride a horse and had sanitation concerns in a dense urban area.  According to Bob Hughes of the Chicago Tribune "the Chicago Park District insisted that commercial activities were not allowed in the parks and emphasized that if a nonprofit stable were to be approved, it would have to meet 'high sanitary and structural standards'. Just how high those standards would be was not specified, but it seemed likely that even a good jumping horse might find them formidable."
photo - Chicago Tribune
New Parkway Riding Stables, pictured here at 2153 N Clark Street, furnished horses for rides in the park and taught classes, such as this one on April 12, 1966. This stable had been in business since the 1890's and still sent out some 600 riders every weekend to Lincoln Park in 1966. New Parkway was the last publicly used a city-operated stable. It closed in October, 1967.- Chicago Tribune caption to the photo above
 along Grant's Monument
along Lake View Avenue 
somewhere in Lincoln Park
 somewhere along the Lincoln Park trail
beyond the Waveland Golf Course
The Beginning to the End 1953
Tragedy Hits 1954

Stables vs Citizen Groups 1954
page 2 
No Support - Time to Leave 1966 
The Last North Side Stable Closes 1967
Testimony via 'Forgotten Chicago' 2011
I rode at the New Parkway Stables in '52 at Webster and Clark. Owner was Johnny Klein and instructors were Ivan Parks and Peggy Drummond who was also Chicago school teacher. I originally began at Christensen stables south of Clark and North avenue in a former auto dealership building. It was the west side of the street down from the Red Star Inn. Beginners learned in the inside ring and advanced folks went into the huge larger inside arena in the area where there once had been cars and carriages. The great, now deceased, famous Saddlebred trainer, Tommy Moore worked there as a teen and everyone at that time marveled at his talent. ‘Ambassador Stables’ was east of this barn and the entrance was off an alley; very small barn with few riders most of whom came from the affluent Gold Coast area. The fourth barn was ‘Plush’ just west of New Parkway off of Grant Place. Nice barn, big ring but long walk to the entrance of the zoo which got us to the bridle path along the Lincoln Park [lagoon]. What a thrill to attract all that attention from zoo visitors as many as 40 of us would walk thru the zoo. Sunday breakfast rides meal was taken at the Black something restaurant at Clark and Diversey; most of the riders were older women. Fifty-four horses in straight stalls were in the basement of the Parkway. On the second floor were the private horses owned by people from the Stewart Coffee family and others in box stalls. There was a fire in the basement of Parkway around '55 or so and only one of the 52 survived...the oldest school horse they had simply dipped his nose deep into his food trough and survived. They had to pull all the horses out of the basement through the windows and ramp and they were piled up in the alley. 
Images of that Path in 2012
photos - Lake View Patch 
The Belmont Harbor Rocks
This sign blanketed the area along the lakefront between Diversey and Belmont Harbors on what was commonly known as the 'rocks'. This area included and was once the Lincoln Park 18 hole golf course/driving range, a rifle range, and sunbathing spot for LGBT folks. 
Chicago Tribune view of the 'Rocks' in 1972
Join the conversation on Forgotten Chicago on Facebook
Belmont Harbor 'Rocks' unknown date
Gene Mundt via Kimberly Banks - Pinterest
Some Background
Richard Wingstrom via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
 north of the Belmont Point looking south in 1987
The shoreline and the waves of Lake Michigan,particularly after storms, became an issue by the turn of the 20th century when Lincoln Park Commission, a precursor to the Chicago Park District, began to expand and extend the originally box sized park northward along the existing lakefront. Below is an article for the Chicago Tribune about the damage caused my the lake to the unprotected lakefront.
(click on article segments to enlarge)
page 2
 page 3
Again, like many times before, the Chicago's shoreline was threatened in the 1980's by high lake water levels that during storms closed North Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago Park District, the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Chicago developed a plan to rebuild the limestone step revetment along the lakefront. They signed a Memorandum of Agreement in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards to ensure that the project would protect the historic value of the structure. However, when construction actually began in the 1990's the public was appalled -- long unrelieved stretches of steel and concrete where the historic limestone had been. After all but two sections of the lakefront had been ruined -- Promontory Point and Diversey-Wellington -- the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency halted the project. But in July of 2006 the IHPA, under by a riptide of political pressure, endorsed the concrete and steel reconstruction.Preservation Chicago
The Types of Revetment
image - pdf called Shoreline History p.2
"The old limestone blocks that line the edge of the lake will be replaced by new concrete stones in that area as a part of the Chicago Park District’s eight-mile lakefront revetment plan. The park district and its project partners said the revetment – a renovation to protect the embankment – is necessary to prevent further lakeshore deterioration. Not everyone in the community is happy about the changes, however. South East Lake View Neighbors Vice President Robert Clarke said the majority of people at community meetings said they did not want the changes. “We accept the need to rebuild the revetment; we just challenge the design and the materials. That’s the essential issue,” Clarke said. 
Medill Reports Chicago with video. 
"The northern half of the lakefront stretch between Diversey and Belmont is scheduled to be under construction beginning in May 2002, as part of the city’s Shoreline Protection Project, which in that particular area consists of the reconstruction of 3,300 linear feet of shoreline. Improvements will include the construction of the step stone revetment at an estimated cost of $19 million, according to the city’s Web site. Construction is expected to be completed in 2003".
- from the newspaper Skyline
The Shoreline Protection Project
Postcard of shoreline 
along the Gold Coast- 1940ish
Chicago's existing shoreline protection was built between 1910 and 1931. Known as revetments, the shoreline protection comprised of wood pile cribs filled with stones in the shape of steps. In the 1950's, the wood piles began collapsing, leaving shoreline protection structures and park land to erode and wash away. In 1964, the year when Chicago recorded the all-time lowest water levels on Lake Michigan, the wood piles became exposed and started rotting, further increasing the erosion process. Due to their age and deteriorated condition, these structures no longer provide adequate protection for Lake Shore Drive, a Federal highway adjacent to this shoreline, and other public facilities. This threat of damage prompted Congress in 1974 to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to investigate these and related erosion problems along the entire Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline - from City of Chicago website
Laying the out the artificial shoreline along 
Lincoln Park at Montrose Harbor area in 1929
photo - Chicago History Museum 
1949 negative slides - Ebay
The Icy Rocks in 1968
Fishing in 1969
'The Study/Project Description. Chicago’s shoreline is largely man-made and constructed on landfill an average of 1,500 feet wide. This landfill is a key-contributing factor to the creation of an extensive series of lakeshore parks that began in the mid to late 1800’s and continued through the 1940’s. During the turn of the last century and into the 1930’s, wooden cribs structures were constructed primarily to contain the stone fill material in order to provide a base upon which 4 to 8 ton cut limestone blocks would be placed in step-stone fashion to construct the existing revetment structure. This project provides storm damage protection to the Lake Michigan shoreline and, in particular, to Lake Shore Drive, a major transportation artery in the City of Chicago. The previous shoreline structures, built in the early 1900s, had deteriorated and no longer functioned to protect against storms, flooding and erosion.' - page 2 of the report
 the Addison Avenue section of the Rocks in 1987 by Richard Wingstrom via Vanished Chicago-Facebook 
The Irving Park Road to Belmont Avenue segment consisted of the reconstruction of 4,000 linear feet of shoreline. Improvements include the construction of steel sheet pile and concrete revetment. Contracts on this project were administered by USACE. The construction cost of the project was $15.6 million and was completed in summer 2002. The ITR was completed on 4 August 1999 and construction was completed in 2001.
The Belmont Harbor Peninsula segment 
consisted of the reconstruction of 1,000 linear feet of shoreline. Improvements included the construction of steel sheet pile and concrete revetment. The construction cost of this project was $5 million. Contracts on this project were administered by the DOT and CPD. The project was completed in 1999.
The Belmont to Diversey North segment 
consists of the reconstruction of 1,700 linear feet of shoreline. The contract on this project was administered by USACE. The cost of the project was $10.5 million & completed in summer 2004.
image - Skyline Newspapers
The main issue in 2001 was the sometime violent impact of the waves along the shoreline. The question would be, is it better that waves hit the shoreline naturally or artificially during violent weather? The view from the citizens and associations were the 'rocks' provide less of an aggressive impact to the shoreline while providing a more natural configuration. The limestone blocks that adorned over the countless decades were, according to some community residents, the art and poetry of the community. 
Parallel to Belmont Avenue
2018 photo - Joe Roels via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
the details
2021 photos - Garry Albrecht
what remains of the 'Rocks'
view near Diversey Harbor
declined pathways to the waters edge

Will the artwork return?
 both photos
'A Place for Us: LGBTQ Life at the Belmont Rocks'
on Facebook 
The revetment to the existing shoreline began by 1910. The constant construction last until 1930. By that time the harbors of Diversey, Belmont, and soon after Montrose were open to the public. The Belmont Rocks were mostly dolomite stone blocks were pulverized in 2003 and used as a base underneath a new broad concrete, runway-like, seawall. The original wood-pylon retention wall had failed along perhaps 50% of this reach, permitting some stone blocks to tumble into the nearby shallow lakebed and limited land erosion to occur. The park land east of Canon Drive, Lakeview Ave., and Sheridan to the north is artificial fill emplaced between the Lincoln Park Zoo and Hollywood Avenue during the first half of the 20th century. By the late 1970's the rocks north of Belmont Harbor parking lot were known by the locals as the as a gay sunbathing location until the modern revetments of the shoreline occurred in the 2000's.
Referred my Many as the
once located south of the harbor & north of the gun club

“I recall that the early 1990's was a tumultuous time for gay men and women. Friends and acquaintances were dying from AIDS. Many of us were "OUT" to family and friends but not necessarily at work,” Brotebeck added. “We were finding our identity, strength, resilience, independence and confidence while still battling the homophobia of the outside world. I believe “THE ROCKS” is a perfect metaphor for the men we became despite the obstacles that existed within the gay community during those days.” Read more ...
Many of the photos below are from a Facebook page  
which mostly originated with photos from Doug Ischar
photos - Doug Ischar
View more adult photos from the photographer Doug Ischar
This gay gathering place was yards away from a rifle range just south of the so-called 'gay rocks'. I was told that the ‘standing joke’ at the time was whenever a rifle shot was fired toward the lake some ‘gay’ sunbather would scream out to the others while basking in the sun, “They missed another faggot again” that would be accompanied with a recognized smile or momentary chuckle.
photo - A Place for Us LGBTQ Life at the Belmont Rocks
'The Rocks' had its own Pride Parade Float in 1985
photo - Alan Light
once made of just Limestone and Wood ...
 photographer Alex Fradkin 
UIC via Explore Chicago Collection
and now ...
The rocks replacement
parallel to Barry Street by Kristen Hidinger via Pinterest
and to remembered with the .....
to be located in Lincoln Park at Barry & Lake Shore Drive and near the existing Belmont Harbor parking lot
2018 Google Map view
'The mission of the AIDS Garden Chicago is to create and maintain a garden space for reflection and education about the AIDS Epidemic. The Garden honors those that have passed and those that have survived, and celebrates the heroes of the AIDS Epidemic and their ongoing work to eradicate HIV/AIDS.The AIDS Garden will be built along the Belmont Rocks, a space the gay community would gather at since the early days of Chicago's LGBT movement. The Rocks were about claiming the right to be, to exist, to gather outside and to be out of the shadows and the closet.
The AIDS Garden seeks to help preserve that memory and to honor the history of HIV/AIDS in Chicago. It is fitting to create a garden in that Belmont Rocks space.  Since the early days of gay movement, the Belmont Rocks were a place to call our own. The lakefront stretch of stone and grass from Belmont to Diversey harbors was a public space Chicago’s LGBTQ community claimed from the 1960's through the 1990's. This was more than a frequented area. The Rocks were a political statement tied to our liberation, a symbol of our right to be here, our right to exist, and our right to gather outside and in the sunlight at a time when our bars still had blackened windows.  Community happened along this undesirable strip of uneven limestone blocks. Relationships and friendships happened here, hook-ups, unions, memorials, picnics, cookouts, dance parties, and rallies. Artwork covered many of these stones. At the Rocks, people lay in the sun, watched the sunset before going out, and sat to watch the sunrise after the bars closed. In 2003 the Belmont Rocks were bulldozed and removed as part of a revetment project to safeguard against shoreline erosion. 
the area is taking shape in 2019 by Owen Keehnen
The Rocks themselves may be gone, but this portion of the Chicago shoreline will forever remain a place of celebration, joy, and remembrance in the pre-AIDS era and the throughout darkest days of the epidemic.' - Aids Garden website
Lost Art on Limestone
a Facebook Story by Garry Albrecht
Remember the ‘rocks’ along the lakeshore; those chucks of limestone cubes that once graced the man-made shores of Lake Michigan? Well, while those cubes of limestone have been removed from the lakefront landscape the man-made artwork carved in those limestone cubes have not been forgotten thanks to a Chicagoan named William Swislow. 
The art posted here reached beyond the Belmont Rocks 
William Swislow had an idea! He was aware of the artwork created on those cubes. He thought before the limestones were to be removed from the landscape he thought to preserve it with photography and post them on his own website. With this task, he helped preserve the now lost art of Chicagoans who patronized the lakefront and created art of various forms and shapes beyond the graffiti we most often remember ... to a time when man first created art in caves. My thanks to Allen Anthony Maniscalco for posting a link to Mr. Swislow's site on Forgotten Chicago-Facebook. Below are some samples and his website telling his story along with the other photos not to be forgotten from the artists that created them. 
And then there was this other type of artwork 
at the edge of the harbor towards the entrance that was created by a local artist during the 70's & 80's. Like the Mason Rock no one for sure when it appeared or disappeared 
postcard - unknown date & source
this postcard does not show a connecting bridge 
for the Outer Drive at Diversey Harbor
1933 photo - Chicago Park District via Jeff Nichols,
Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
1936 IDOT photo of the area near the Diversey Harbor
before the Lake Shore Drive WPA project 
Lake Shore Drive was widen & expanded 
during the years between 1937-1941
photo - University of Illinois-Chicago: Images of Change
a 2016 aerial view - Google Earth
Bathing Beach is filled in for Golf Course in 1922
Photos of former 'Bathing Beach'
 photos- Chicago History Museum 
via Explore Chicago Collection
Plans for Expansion of Lincoln Park in 1894
 The Diversey Avenue End-Beach article in 1903
Beach Space from Fullerton Avenue 
to Diversey Boulevard in 1910
The Nine Hole Course in 1931
a 1936 post mark postcard view - Ebay

The Property Reduced by 1942
The Diversey Driving Range
2016 image - Google Earth
2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000
via Explore Chicago 
 2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000 
via Explore Chicago  
2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000 
via Explore Chicago  
2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000 
via Explore Chicago  
2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000 
via Explore Chicago  
 2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000
via Explore Chicago 
2000 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago, City 2000
via Explore Chicago 
The Mini Golf Course at Diversey
signed by Ernie Banks 1976 - Ebay
and The Diversey Miniature Golf Course 
1976 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago 
via Explore Chicago
The Chicago Park District was planning a new playlot by the Lincoln Park Driving Range just east of the miniature golf course. The community will select their choice to the district.
 all photos - 44th city ward office
Diversey Tennis Center
The only tennis court left in Chicago with a clay playing field
an aerial view

A Proposed Soccer Field
in 2020
'This new field will feature a full sized field, minimally sized bleachers and easy access to parking at the existing parking lot. This is part of a larger project which will include correcting drainage issues in adjoining areas of Lincoln Park and adding naturalized areas near the Barry underpass. In addition to hosting practices for Lincoln Park High School sports, the field will be available to the community at all other times.' per 44th ward office

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Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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