We took a walk through the new Lakefront Park in Whiting last week and I was truly amazed at how beautiful it is.
If you ever parked in the old Whiting Park parking lot, you remember "the rocks" that largely obscured Lake Michigan. Now I'll admit, those rocks were a great place to play when in grade school. Naturally, we never gave a thought to how dangerous climbing them was, but climb we did. In high school, it was the perfect spot to sit with your date to watch the fireworks.
These rocks I speak of so affectionately were actually just ugly giant blocks of broken concrete and I never knew a time when they weren't there. That's because they arrived in 1946 in order to bolster 1,500 feet of shoreline and were a gift from Standard Oil.
They were put there to stop the erosion of the shoreline. And if you were ever there during high winds, you can see why, without the rocks, the pounding of those waves took its toll on the recreational facilities in the park.
So the rocks served their purpose, not meant to be pretty but to provide protection for more than 68 years.
Because they were such a part of our history, my husband and I had our photo taken on them, wearing Santa Claus hats, for our Christmas card the year that the park restoration began.
I never realized how huge that parking lot was until we found this wonderful boardwalk with tons of places to sit and relax. The area is immense. With good planning and good taste, the city and its architects have taken this crummy area and turned it into an amazing lakefront.
I was very impressed with all the new plantings everywhere as well. All of us in Whiting have always loved our park but this new park is certainly one of which we can also be incredibly proud.
Ground has been broken for a gazebo which will be perfect for park weddings. How romantic to be married surrounded by flowers and the Lake Michigan shore line at sunset, with the Chicago skyline off in the distance.
The park just celebrated its 100th birthday a few years ago and it's hard to believe there was a time when there was no beach or park in Whiting. At the turn of the century, people went to Robertsdale Beach in Hammond.
So by the 1900's, Whiting people were insisting something be done with these sand dunes along our section of the lakefront for our own community's use.
The editor of the old "Whiting Sun" was one whose voice was heard on the subject when he wrote, "Theosophist, new thought people, mental scientists and Students of Mental Phenomena, generally tell us that a large number of persons, by concentrating their minds on a wished for object, may attain that object through the operation of united mental effort. Now, brethren and also sister, all together, concentrate on a brand new Lake Front Park. . ."
Well, theosophists, concentrate no longer, because greater minds have beautifully accomplished your desires.