Let’s Learn about Oak Street Beach

Where is Oak Street Beac Located?

Oak Street Beach is located at 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive in Oak Street and Lake Michigan, close to the Gold Coast/Streetsville community. 

This popular summer destination offers leisure facilities including chair rentals, food and beverage options at Oak Street Beach Cafe, bicycle rentals, volleyball rentals, restrooms and spectacular city skyline views. In summer, popular amateur and professional volleyball matches are held here.   

Division Street can sail long distances parallel to the coast in the Chess Hall (20 yards west of the buoy). Beach walks are possible through the ADA program. Limited parking spaces are available near the hotel.  

In 2011, Jeff Zimmermann created a mural titled You Know What You Should Do, along a wall that runs parallel to the Lakefront Trail and is the gateway to the Oak Street Beach Underpass. The mural, roughly 260 feet long and 9 feet high in the centre, helps raise awareness of beach health and water quality issues. His message reminds the public of the need to keep beaches clean by not littering or feeding wild animals. The project was funded by a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant through the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  

Research has shown that seagull faeces can be one of the reasons for not being allowed to swim. Bird feeding and bedding attract seagulls to the beach.    

History of Oak Street Beach

Lincoln Park was originally a public cemetery in Chicago’s early history and was first designated in 1860. Over the years, it has developed into a large park covering 1,212 acres, mainly due to the expansion of its numerous landfills. Oak Street Beach is a supplement to the dump.    

By 1870, Lake Shore Drive was expanded to Pine Street (now N. Michigan Avenue). However, this section of Lake Shore Drive was severely damaged by storms and lakeshore erosion, requiring an extensive breakwater system. The Lincoln Park Commission built a breakwater that stretched from North Avenue to Oak Street and then south to Ohio Street. The project included a newly built beach on Dubovaya Street in the late 1890s.    

Lincoln Park began as an unburied section of a cemetery, first designated as a park in 1860. In 1869, the park management passed from the City of Chicago to the new Lincoln Park Commission. At the time, the park’s boundaries extended from Diversey Parkway to the north. However, according to the original law, the first section of Lake Shore Drive was to extend south to Oak Street.   

Lincoln Park and Lakeside Boulevard are often hit by storms and lakeside erosion. In the early 1870s, the political commissar built a breakwater composed of pillars, planks, stones, and shrubs on the shore of the lake between Oak Street and North Avenue. The device could not correctly protect Lake Shore Drive, so in the late 1880s, the commissioner began to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to design a dam between Fullerton and North Street to provide better protection. 

During this period, the owners who lived near Lake Michigan south of Lincoln Park asked the commissioner to consider extending the Lakefront Boulevard south from Oak Street to Ohio Street. They agreed to give up their coastal rights (the right to use water in front of their property) and help pay for the expansion of the landfill, which includes a breakwater to protect the lakeshore and roads from erosion. The project was built in 1890 and consists of a 50-foot wide street and a wide granite-paved beach, stone walkways, bicycle paths, bridles, extensive lawns and double rows of elm trees on both sides of the road. As part of the project, in Dubovaya, A small beach was built at the foot of the street.   

In 1899, the Chicago Drainage Canal was completed, diverting wastewater previously discharged into Lake Michigan. This innovation has made the lake more attractive for swimming and bathing. In the early 1910s, Oak Street Beach became extremely popular for swimming despite its small size.    

The private property owners near the beach complained that many bathing people had become a nuisance. In response to these complaints, in 1917, Lincoln Park Commissioners established new rules limiting the time that people could use the beach for swimming.

 The townspeople protested, and over the years, citizens have asked for the beach to be expanded and services such as a bathhouse provided. By the early 1920s, the controversy over the expansion of the Oak Street beach had become acute.   

The City of Chicago funded the Ohio Street Beach expansion in 1923, a project that was partly planned to reduce congestion on Oak Street Beach. However, Ohio street improvement has been put on hold due to concerns that its perpendicular orientation could cause health problems. Meanwhile, Oak Street Beach is estimated to attract up to 55,000 bathers during hot summer days despite its small size. Soon after the Chicago Park area was formed in 1934, federal funds were made available through the Manufacturing Division for lakeside landscaping.   

This includes the new pedestrian tunnel to Oak Street Beach under Michigan. The project consists of a comfortable station that has been needed for a long time. Thirty years later, further improvements on Lakeshore Boulevard caused a small portion of Oak Street Beach to be dumped. Batches of new sand crossed Lake Michigan from Indiana Dunes by barge.   

Over the years, Oak Street Beach has remained one of Chicago’s most popular swimming and bathing spots, as well as a trendy spot to see and see. The canal was completed in 1899, diverting wastewater previously discharged into Lake Michigan. This innovation has made the lake more attractive for swimming and bathing. Over the century, Oak Street Beach has grown to be one of Chicago’s most popular and trendy beaches, and it’s definitely a must-see and see. 

Rules you need to follow at Oak Street Beach

  • Swim only when lifeguards are on duty. Only PFD approved personal watercraft are permitted. Children wearing lifejackets must have an adult present.    
  • No dogs on the beach. Do not feed birds or wild animals.  
  • Dispose of waste and dispose of it in appropriate containers. Grill only in designated areas and dispose of coals in red barrels. 
  • Make beach walks free. It is forbidden to ride a bike, skateboard or ice skate in these areas.  
  • No paddle or board sports are allowed on the Lake Michigan Waterway at Oak Street Beach. 
  • Visit the rules page for information on beaches with starting points to access the Lake Michigan Waterway. 
  • The beach is open from 6:00 to 23:00, but swimming is allowed only with lifeguards on duty, every day from 11:00 to 19:00.    
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