Indiana Dunes National Park — the country’s ultra-modern addition to the National Park System — is renowned for its hovering sand dunes and interesting ecosystems, however, there’s a lot extra to this park’s history past its natural wonders. And it is the first stop on AccuWeather’s “Great American Road Trip” series, airing all month on the AccuWeather Network.
Indiana Dunes National Park has been at the center of warfare among conservationists and industrialists for decades, as the precious land at the shorelines of Lake Michigan drew the interest of both naturalists and entrepreneurs alike. On both facets of the struggle, intriguing characters made their marks at the park’s records in diverse approaches.
The early twentieth century: Botany and thin dipping
According to Indiana Dunes National Park Ranger Rafi Wilkinson, across the past due 1800s, “People commenced to observe not only what might be performed industrially within the dunes however also [what could be done] from a renovation perspective.”
One of the primary conservation companies to take a hobby within the location was the Prairie Club of Chicago. Wilkinson stated, “They have been a collection of educators, a group of scientists and simply folks who like to get out, and there was already a railroad right here … so it did make a tour out to the dunes very viable. [The Prairie Club of Chicago] had a number of outings [and] there has been a number of scientific research being carried out right here.”
One of these researchers became Dr. Henry Chandler Cowles from the University of Chicago and one of the founders of ecology. For Cowles, the Indiana Dunes location become a living laboratory, a place for him to easily explore new thoughts in botany, which includes plant succession, in surroundings simply 14,000 years improved due to the fact glaciation.
Another famous, nearby, mythical figure of the time — and one with a greater scandalous recognition — become Alice Mabel Gray, otherwise referred to as “Diana of the Dunes.” While not by and large concerned with conservation at the beginning, Gray became infamous for the use of the Indiana Dunes as a channel for displaying her early feminist anger at the injustice of the salary hole. It’s said that she rejected one of the few profession paths to be had to women inside the early 1900s, and took to living some of the dunes on her personal in a show of defiance against sexist social norms.
Folklore surrounds her lifestyles. Stories swirled concerning her skinny-dipping habits and nude runs on the beaches. Later in lifestyles, she became involved in a murder case. However, her antics made her popular amongst positive social circles in Chicago and she eventually used her have an effect on to speak publicly on the difficulty of Indiana Dunes maintenance.
The first dunes conservation efforts culminated in the early 1900s when there has been initially an attempt to make the region a country wide park. Unfortunately, the beginning of World War I became authorities interest faraway from the park service and to the conflict attempt, leaving the Indiana Dunes within the darkish.
In the interim, industrialists and builders set their points of interest on the vicinity, maximum curiously two actual estate brothers who dreamed of bringing the proper Florida holiday to enjoy to the sands of Lake Michigan, within the shape of an improvement known as Beverly Shores.
Todd Zeiger, director of the northern location office for Indiana Landmarks, defined the enchantment the siblings identified. “The Bartlett brothers purchased the southern tip of Lake Michigan to construct Beverly Shores as a part of some of the type of lodge communities building alongside the lake right here,” Zeiger advised AccuWeather. “All of these were being constructed as ways to get out of Chicago.”
But the Bartlett brothers had a specifically specific advertising scheme: Take homes constructed on the Chicago’s World Fair and Century of Progress International Exposition, convey them over from Chicago on a barge and plant them inside the development to draw fascinated shoppers. The homes have been a part of the honest’s Home and Industrial Arts Group, on the show as examples of ways future Americans would possibly stay a century following the Great Depression. While the houses had been amazing, they got a few things about the future incorrect; regrettably, now not many contemporary Americans have a want for a personal aircraft hangar in the basement.
“[The Bartlett brothers] knew the homes on the fair were very popular,” Zeiger stated, noting the millions of site visitors on the truthful who noticed them. “They thought, what an outstanding manner to entice humans from Chicago to come out and purchase a piece of property here in Beverly Shores. So [the Bartlett brothers] might convey [potential buyers] out on the South Shore Train … [and] tour them thru the homes … And it labored out pretty nicely.”
The Beverly Shores neighborhood nonetheless exists these days, absolutely surrounded by means of the National Park, on display for all to view the consequences of two brothers’ advertising and marketing ingenuity.