Lake Michigan - Hammond Beach Area
|Every Hammond kid fantasized about a day of swimming in Lake
on a hot summer day!
Long before the Environmental Protection Agency and Greenpeace were organized, kids used to swim in a mixture of detergent suds from the Lever Brother's Rinso plant, and the oil slick left behind by the iron ore boats as they made their way between the Gary steel mills and northern Minnesota (Lake Superior). They kind of cancelled each other out and you always went home a little cleaner and much cooler at the end of the day.
Of course there were a lot of dead fish and smelly seaweed riding the crest of each wave, but that was all part of the fun!
This new bath house was built in 1910 at a cost of $20,000, a serious sign that City Fathers recognized the importance of this natural lakefront treasure.
Jean Shepherd writes,
That kind of heat and
sun produces mirages. All it takes is good flat country, a nutty sun, and
insane heat and, by George, you're looking at Cleveland 200 miles away. I
remember many times standing out in center field on an incinerating day in
mid-August, the prairie stretching out endlessly in all directions, and
way out past the swamp would be this kind of tenuous, shadowy, cloud-like
thing shimmering just above the horizon. It would be the Chicago skyline,
upside down, just hanging there in the sky..."
Hammond Beach / Bathhouse looking West
|And, of course, the city's power plant found a home with unlimited amount of water for cooling as well as an unlimited place for dumping.
Remnants of Fishing Pier and Breakwater
|The Hammond Bath House is long since gone and a creative photographer was able to find this quiet spot to take a modern picture of Hammond's lakefront.
But this is Hammond's new "natural resource,"