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[Detail] Pinus scopulorum Reproduction, Jemez Springs, New Mexico

Historical Comprehension

Russian Thistle, Gary Indiana

Russian Thistle, Gary Indiana, 1910.

"Ecology and the Preservation of the Indiana Dunes" from the Special Presentation presents the story of how this "great ecological phenomenon" was finally preserved through the creation of the Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Images from the collection illustrate the combination of forces impacting the landscape at the turn of the twentieth century. They will also clarify the issues and challenges involved in efforts toward conservation. Identify likely search terms in the narrative for finding images, such as sand, dunes, Indiana, growth of cities, Gary, and state park. Also refer to pertinent headings in the Subject Index such as, United States of America--Illinois--Cook County--Chicago.

These images depict the development of rail lines, roads, housing, and industry that threatened the dunes. After reading "Ecology and the Preservation of the Indiana Dunes" and inspecting these images, consider the following questions:

  • What posed the greatest threat to the Indiana Dunes?
  • What steps were taken to preserve the dunes?
  • Whose support helped to preserve the dunes and how?
  • What finally motivated the decision to protect the dunes? How long did it take?
  • If you had been living in Chicago or Gary at the time of these events, do you think you would have considered the impact of urbanization on the dunes?
  • Would that consideration have impacted your activities, such as the use of railroads?
  • Would you have visited the dunes? How might this experience have affected you?
  • Do the forces of development and tourism threaten natural resources today? Are there efforts being made currently to protect certain sites?
  • What steps could or should be taken to protect the landscape?

To locate more images that illustrate city growth, browse the collection Detroit Publishing Company for more than five-hundred photographs of cityscapes from this period. The collection also includes photographs of leisure pursuits such as camping and beach-going, activities that threatened the fragile ecosystems documented in Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936.