Beverly Shores, Indiana

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Beverly Shores is a town in Pine Township, Porter County, Indiana, United States, about 36 miles (58 km) east of downtown Chicago. The population was 708 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Beverly Shores began life as a planned resort community. The Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend railroad began to provide service from South Bend to Chicago shortly after 1900. The Chicago businessman Samuel Insull reorganized the line as the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend (today's South Shore Line) in 1925, upgrading the stations and encouraging tourism. A number of promotional posters were issued, many of which remain in print.

The Frederick H. Bartlett Company, at that time one of Chicago's largest real-estate developers, bought 3,600 acres (1,500 ha) in the area in 1927, and plotted thousands of homesites. He named the prospective development Lake Shore, North Shore Beach and South Shore Acres. The Great Depression dampened its prospects, and many of the plots were never built on.

Robert Bartlett, Frederick Bartlett's brother, purchased the properties in 1933, He named the entire development after his daughter Beverly,and continued to develop its infrastructure with roads, a school, a golf course, and a hotel. He purchased and relocated sixteen structures from Chicago's 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair, four of which were transported by barges on Lake Michigan.

The community was incorporated in 1947. After World War II, a number of industrial developments, including Burns Harbor, were built to the east, and by the 1950s environmental organizations had begun to push for preservation of the area. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was established in 1966. During the 1970s, there was a movement to purchase all the homes in Beverly Shores and incorporate the entire town into the National Lakeshore. This initiative did not succeed, but many local properties were acquired, especially those in the wetlands that constitute the southern portion. The acquisition process is ongoing. The owners of lots fronting on the beach were granted lifetime leasebacks with the proviso that the property would revert to the National Lakeshore; many of these houses have since been demolished.

The 1970s saw a period of record high lake levels and beach erosion; the owners of lakefront properties often responded by dumping large quantities of concrete blocks (riprap) onto the sand in front of their houses, which continue to mar the beach. The beach is now conspicuously public, although nearby parking is limited.

A resurgence of development took place during the 1990s and 2000s, when many million-dollar-plus houses were built on the dunes near the lakefront. In the early 2000s, excessive levels of arsenic, boron, lead, and manganese were found in wells in the nearby town of Pines, and pipelines delivering Lake Michigan water treated by Michigan City were extended into Beverly Shores. This time period also saw an explosion of the local white-tailed deer population, a problem that has polarized its residents.

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