Monday, June 8, 2009


posted by Elizabeth Fama

In the late spring a young woman's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of...swimming.

But if you want to swim at the Point, you'll have to do it illegally and at one of these three treacherous swimming access spots.

Now, it may have been a while since you've actually walked the promenade all the way around (and in some places it's physically impossible), so I've prepared this helpful slide show: A Walking Tour of the Point's Deterioration. Click on fama.elizabeth's Public Gallery, and then choose "slideshow." It will take you only 90 seconds to view it, and it will bring you up to snuff on just how bad the Point is getting.

It's time for us to demand The Compromise Plan, and the sanctioned deep-water swimming that goes along with it.

And don't forget to write to me if you want a free FIX THE POINT bumper sticker. They're all the rage.



Anonymous said...

What's the status of the new "third party study" that was supposed to happen? Anyone know?

David Farley said...

Was the stonework at one point level with those rods that are sticking up?

Elizabeth Fama said...

David Farley,
I'm not sure which photo you're talking about. If it's the bottom photo in my post, those "rods" are pipe-ladders that swimmers fabricated (I think it was actually one person: the late Ted Knight) to allow water access on the south side of the Point.

David Farley said...

Well ... in particular, the second picture, that seems to have a single beam sticking up out of the foundation. It doesn't look like a ladder to anywhere.

Elizabeth Fama said...

David Farley,

OK, I see what you're asking now. The two north side water-access spots (in the top two photos) have wooden posts that act as markers and gripping posts. Like the south-side ladders, these are also jury-rigged "aids" that were installed by swimmers.

Note that these water-access spots are not official (or legal) entry points. They're just places where the blocks have tumbled via erosion in such a way that swimmers can clamber into the water...if they're athletic enough. The revetment was designed only for promenading in the 1930s. The Compromise Plan includes two 150-foot-wide water-entry points (one on the north and one on the south) with steps down into the water.

Elizabeth Fama said...

From Colignius Ferox:

I am one of the people who has been silently reading and much enjoying HPP for several months now. I have been in HP (associated with the University) for about seven years. When I arrived, the Save the Point campaign seemed to have recently passed, but I never quite caught the story. It was explained to me in passing that it was about stopping some kind of undesirable development -- you know, a community-members vs developers story. If you have a good account that you have posted or would be willing to post, please do. Because there is only one side out there, and people tend to think of all development as bad -- as thought it were going to mean high rises in the point and barbed wire.

As it happens, Colignius, I do have a post describing the history of the Point controversy.

And if you're really energetic, you can read all the posts we've written on this issue by clicking the "Save the Point" link to the left of the main HPP screen. (And the link should really say "Fix the Point," Chicago Pop.)

chicago pop said...

Amazing pics. What is "Save the Point" really about now? Saving the Point from erosion.

Richard Gill said...

The History Channel should film the Point for a 50 or 75 year segment of Life After People. They used downtown Gary for a 30-year segment.

Anonymous said...

Those caverns underneath the promenade are a deathtrap. Small children (or anyone really) could easily take a wrong step into a hole and break their ankle. The section just above the water on the south side looks like it will tumble into the lake at any moment (perhaps with people sitting on the rocks). The last time I was out there I saw two rats running amongst the limestone blocks and descending into one of the big holes on the north side. This whole thing is so utterly ludicrous. The city ought to just implement the Compromise Plan unilaterally. When it comes down to it, the Save The Pointers (do they even exist anymore) have no legal recourse.

Elizabeth Fama said...


It may be true that the City could just unilaterally build the Compromise Plan. I gather that was the situation with Meigs Field/Northerly Island. The lease for the airport had expired years before, and Daley got fed up with the ultimately pointless legal wrangling in the courts.

However, we now have Obama gumming up the works: who is going to tell him that his third-party design process (which hasn't even begun) is fruitlessly delaying the process?

And finally, if the City builds something unilaterally -- during a recession, no less -- are our deep-water swimming entry-steps (expensive, both structurally and in terms of materials) and our swimming rights going to be preserved? More than anything, I hope history won't show that the SAVE THE POINT group lost that hard-fought design feature.

David Farley said...

Elizabeth - thanks for the additional info. I was wondering how the foundation could have deteriorated to leave the frame sticking up like that, and it turned out it hadn't (not that it's any excuse for the current sorry state).

edj said...

I'm still surprised the city hasn't closed it off as a public safety hazard. Or taken out those ladders because those are also safety hazards.

I'm going on 9 years in Hyde Park without having going near the Point because of this safety hazard.