Monday, August 10, 2020


Dangers of Rising Lake Level Explored in New “High Water and Hell” Exhibit at Edgewater History Museum

Event date: 1/11/2020 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Export event
Elaine Evans
/ Categories: Events, General News

Dangers of Rising Lake Level Explored in New “High Water and Hell” Exhibit at Edgewater History Museum

Edgewater Historical Society

The recent dramatic rise in the level of Lake Michigan is posing a serious – though not unprecedented threat – to property on Chicago’s lake front. 

A new exhibit at the Edgewater History Museum – “High Water and Hell: Rise in Lake Level Puts Chicago on Edge” – examines how the previous record high lake levels in the late 1980s severely battered the City and caused extensive damage to Chicago’s lakefront communities. 

The exhibit, opening January 11, draws on news stories, maps, photographs, first-hand accounts, and a plethora of studies to show how the City struggled to cope with lake flooding and permanently bolster Chicago’s shoreline defenses.

“High Water and Hell” explores how the city responded to the crisis of the 1980s and how a variety of citizen task forces proposed lasting solutions to prevent future catastrophic flooding, though very few of those recommendations were ever executed.

“This exhibit was prompted by the very real crisis currently facing Edgewater and all the communities on Chicago’s lake front,” said John Holden, a board member for the museum and curator of the exhibit. “The exhibit is based on the extensive archives and recollections of a number of the leading community members who tried to help Chicago avoid a repeat of the catastrophes of the 1980s. Hopefully, this exhibit will increase community awareness of the problem we face and foster community dialog on how to find a lasting solution.”

“High Water and Hell” also examines the science of what makes the levels of the Great Lakes fluctuate so dramatically, as well as how Chicago extensively rebuilt more than eight miles of City shoreline over the past 30 years. 

The Edgewater History Museum  is free and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is also currently featuring exhibits on the historic Edgewater Beach Hotel and the Chicago Conspiracy Trial.

To arrange for private previews of the exhibit, please contact John Holden at or (773) 642-9332.

Edgewater Historical Society
5358 N. Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60640 (Map)

350 Rate this article:
No rating

Please login or register to post comments.

Terms Of UsePrivacy StatementCopyright 2020 by Illinois State Historical Society
Back To Top