When you view Chicago’s lake front, the lakefront has been transformed by human hands. Changing the swampy terrain into one of the major metropolis of the world wasn’t an easy task. In addition, the contours around the shore have been adjusted aggressively to create more space.
In 1905, the South Shore Country Club was created and was a rich man’s club. The Club history with the neighborhood and its complicated relationship is well known. In 1970, advocates of the community won a fight to preserve it as a cultural center and a public park. Many people know the beautiful main building but few know about the grounds.
38% acres of the area, almost half the land is a golf course while the northeast of the main building is a beach. The South Shore Nature Sanctuary is on a small split of land which extends beyond the beach.
The sanctuary was designed by Wolff Clements and Associates in 2002 at a cost of at a cost of $500,000. Ever since, it has won many grants and awards. When you walk there, there is something unnatural about it since it sits on rubble and is surrounded by broken street lamps and busted sidewalks. In the last 15 years, nature has done magic on the 3 acres. It is the closest area to the city where one can enjoy a natural ecosystem.
The sands of the area are restrained by the roots of the grasses. Nearby, ducks swim with their young ones as they forage for food. The perimeter is surrounded by native trees, wildflowers and grasses. Many birds migrate to this area around the lakefront for food and water.
There are two fire rings close to the peninsula with limestone cropping’s. The fire rings are built in organic style and are welcoming hearths where the community bonds are forged. The area play host to gatherings for families, friends and neighbors. Several occasions are often held in this area including weddings, parties and anniversaries.
In the northern edge, there is a shifting palette of vegetation that obscures the skyline views. This is a great location to visit to catch sunsets’ rich in colors or smashing fireworks on the skyline of Chicago in summer.
However, there is danger of losing the sanctuary as the Chicago Park District has plans of merging the golf course in Jackson Park with the South Shore Cultural Center and this will destroy majority of the nature that surrounds the area. Plans are that the prairie and fire circles will make way for what will be hole 12 of the gold course.
Officials claim that they will replace the nature elsewhere but even so, so much will be lost including the labors of those individuals who came up with the idea. In addition, it will be hard to get a prime location with such a beautiful skyline and a lake.
It is unfair that the few rich who love golf want to take the larger share of a sanctuary that is open to others when in any case, the current area golf takes is the lions share. South Shore Nature Sanctuary is a great resource to the community around Chicago and for these reasons even more care should be taken to protect it.