Lake of the Woods Beach and Waterslide
Backstory and Context
"At one time over 150 people were swimming in the...lake. Picnickers swarmed over the preserves, boats of all types were in the water" - H.I. Gelvin, Founder of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District, at the opening of the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 1948.
Lake of the woods Forest Preserve played an played an important role in the summers of our area's past. Visitors would travel from miles around to explore this central Illinois swimming beach and go soaring down it's seaslide.
Back then, you might have ridden on the seaslide, as seen in this vintage postcard, or swam at Lake of the Woods. The toboggan type seat for the seaslide can still be viewed at Museum of the Grand Prairie as it is on display in it's "The Grand Prairie Story" exhibit. Can you imagine pulling a wooden sled out of the water, carrying it up the stairs, and riding it down the steep incline into the water? The swimming beach and seaslide have closed for good, but the lake still presents great opportunities to fish, paddle boat, and kayak. Although the seaslide and beach at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve no longer exist, there is still much fun to be had reminiscing on this piece of central Illinois' past!
Museum of the Grand Prairie Collections, Champaign County Forest Preserve District, Mahomet, Illinois, 2020.