Indiana Dunes National Park — the country’s ultra-modern addition to the National Park System — is renowned for its hovering dunes and interesting ecosystems; however, there’s a lot extra to this park’s history past its natural wonders. It is the first stop on AccuWeather’s “Great American Road Trip” series, airing monthly 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. Intriguing characters marked the park’s records with diverse approaches to both facets of the struggle.
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 but 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 several outings [and] there have been several 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 became a living laboratory, a place for him to easily explore new thoughts in botany, including plant succession, in surroundings simply 14,000 years improved due to glaciation. Another famous, nearby, mythical figure of the time — and one with a greater scandalous recognition — became Alice Mabel Gray, otherwise called “Diana of the Dunes.”
While not by and large concerned with conservation initially, Gray became infamous for using the Indiana Dunes as a channel for displaying her early feminist anger at the injustice of the salary hole. She rejected one of the few professional paths for women in the early 1900s and took to living some of the dunes on her own in a show of defiance against sexist social norms.
Folklore surrounds her lifestyle. Stories swirled concerning her skinny-dipping habits and nude runs on the beaches. Later in life, she became involved in a murder case. However, her antics made her popular amongst positive social circles in Chicago. She eventually used her affect to speak publicly on the difficulty of Indiana Dunes maintenance. The first dune conservation efforts culminated in the early 1900s when an attempt was initially made to make the region a country-wide park. Unfortunately, at the beginning of World War I, it became the authorities’ interest far away from the park service and the conflict attempt, leaving the Indiana Dunes in the dark.
In the interim, industrialists and builders set their points of interest in the vicinity. These curiously two actual estate brothers dreamed of bringing the proper Florida holiday to enjoy to the sands of Lake Michigan in 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 to get out of Chicago.”
But the Bartlett brothers had a 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, showing examples of how Americans could a century following the Great Depression. Unfortunately, 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, surrounded by the National Park, on display for all to view the consequences of the two brothers’ advertising and marketing ingenuity.