Whiting: A Small City with a Bright Future
By John Hmurovic
Mayor Joseph Stahura recently told the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce that Whiting is developing into a tourist hub. (See the article in The Times.) Any success Whiting has with this, is due in large part to one of its biggest assets: Whiting Park, and its location on Lake Michigan.
The park came into existence in 1909, but only after a multi-year struggle by the people of Whiting. Among those on the other side of that struggle were the railroads. Due to concerns about safety, and liability, they were not eager to allow people to cross their busy tracks to get to a park.
Whiting considered many options to get around this problem. In 1907, one of the options discussed was to elevate the tracks, and let pedestrians and vehicles pass underneath. The Lake County Times sounded optimistic on May 23rd of that year that the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern (L.S. & M.S) railroad would agree. The plan was to make Sheridan Avenue the main route into the proposed park. And, with Chicago making plans to develop their park system along the lake, and Hammond already having a popular lakefront park in Robertsdale, the newspaper speculated that Whiting’s economic future would be bright if this problem could be worked out.
Whiting Is Promised Track Elevation
Lake County News
May 23, 1907
An L.S. & M.S. official is quoted by our councilmen as saying that it will only be a matter of time when their tracks will be elevated through to Gary. Track elevation is the only sane solution to the city’s park question. With a little track elevation and a slight depression of the street, Sheridan Avenue could be made possible to the lake front. Chicago has plans to build beyond the railways and connect Lincoln and Jackson parks with a fine lake front park. We have the situation at hand to make a park system complete to the East Side. We have a lake front situation unsurpassed this side of Lincoln Park. The Whiting lake front park can be connected to the Robertsdale Park by a boulevard system and then on to the East Side park. In this we have before us all the possibilities of the proposed Chicago lake front park. Aside from the pleasure this would offer to all our people it would develop our little city and increase the value of property away beyond the cost of the park.