Chicago sits right next to Lake Michigan. It has parks with lagoons and neighborhood pools as well. But sometimes the children used to get creative and break open the fire hydrants to beat the heat. One Chicago Defender photographer focused on Black Chicago's relationship with water to beat the heat!
Robert Robinson, age 13 and his 2-year-old sister Jennifer cool off in the spray of a fire hydrant near their home at 43rd and Federal. The Fire Department, however, frowns on this activity, due to the decrease in water pressure in the event of a fire. (July 1, 1989)
Family at the lakefront (1986-09-09) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
A family sits along the shore enjoying the sights of Lake Michigan at 57th & Lakeshore.
Man fishing in the park (1986-09-08) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
A man fishing at Central Park on Chicago's West Side.
The fastest way to cool off in the late 1980's was to use an open fire hydrant for a cold splash of water. Earl Loman (13 years) and Tony Smythe (15 years) participated in that decision at 44th and Champlain.
Sunday afternoon fishing (1987-06) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
Sunday afternoon fishing at Washington Park Lagoon.
Khaid Jordan (11 years) comes up for air in a curb side "swimming pool" created by the dangerous practice of opening fire hydrants. He is joined by friends: Shelton Capers (9 years); Lamont Boswell (11 years); Hugh Vaughn (11 years) and Carl Boyd (11 years).
Man napping at water (1986-09-08) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
A common pastime at Central Park on Chicago's West Side is to fish at the lagoon. A spot in the shade is ideal.
They are proclaiming "Victory" over the heat! Ramon Lanton (15) and friend Malcolm Jone (7) beat the ongoing heat wave by swimming in a pool near their home at 29th and Michigan in Chicago. (July 6, 1989)
Man and kid biking (1988-09-08) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
Chicago's Lake Michigan has miles of scenic bike lanes for cooling off with a child in tow.
Before the recent renovations of the lakefront in this area, Black men would get up early for the best catch at The 31st Street Beach. Even with renovations, fishing permits are available for this location. The Chicago Park District lists Panfish, Carp and Smallmouth Bass, Freshwater Drum (aka Sheephead, Silver bass) as possible rewards for early morning fishing. The line and "X" drawn in the photo mark where the photo was cropped when it originally ran in The Chicago Defender Newspaper.
Children at fire hydrant (1987-07-22) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
Children playing at 57th and Lafayette. They are cooling off from the summer heat with the spray of water from the fire hydrant. (July 22, 1987)
Three men fishing (1986-09-08) by Chicago Defender ArchivesThe Obsidian Collection Archives
In the early season, the Chicago Park District claims the city's lagoons boast Bluegill and Crappie.
Source: The Chicago Defender Newspaper Archives
Partnered with The Obsidian Collection Archives