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Changes at Wolf Lake

Wolf Lake and surrounding area in 1938.  

Photo Credit: Historical Aerial Photography 1937-1947, Illinois Natural Resources Geospatial Data Clearinghouse, Illinois State Geological Survey, (object name 16TCM67560; accessed March 28, 2011).

The race to fill Wolf Lake sped ahead in the 1930's, led by the Wolf Lake Speedway in Hammond and its neighboring "midget" track.  On the Illinois side of the lake (left), echoes of the region's original "dune and swale" landscape are still visible.  But lakefill, railroad lines, slag heaps, and residential neighborhoods continue to erase that landscape, boxing Wolf Lake in.


Wolf Lake and surrounding area in 1973.

Photo Creadit: USGS Historic Single Frame Records acquired from Earth Resources Observation and Science center (EROS) –

Cars now race along the Indiana Toll Road, completed in 1956, and the industrial and residential development of the area has proceeded apace.  The state line itself is now visible on the landscape, following the north-south berm in the middle of the lake and showing up as a sharp line at the top of the photo between the forest that has begun to emerge at Eggers Woods Forest Preserve and the greensward of turf grass just to the left of the tollroad.  The green area at the south end of the Lake on the Illinois site is a Nike Missile site; at the north end of the lake is the administration area for the installation.

Wolf Lake and surrounding area in 2010. 

Photo Credit:NAIP imagery acquired from the USDA-FSA 2010 Aerial Photography Field Office –

A recreational landscape begins to emerge: marinas and golf courses in Hammond abut a more full-fledged William Powers recreational area in Illinois, with the forest preserve neighbor to the north.  The lake is the scene of active environmental education interest, from the Hammond Environmental Center to the engagement with students through ECCo’s Calumet Environmental Education Program at Eggers Marsh.