Skokie Lagoons (894 acres) is comprised of seven inter-connected lagoons located on the east side of I-94 (Edens Expressway) near the northern Chicago suburb of Glencoe. Originally a huge mass of marshes and wetlands, much of the area was drained by early settlers for agriculture. The area was known by the indigenous Potawatomi Tribe as Chebab Skokie ("big wet prairie"). In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps' largest national project was digging the current lagoon system, partially to alleviate flooding but also for recreational use.
A huge restoration was initiated by the Chicago Audubon Society and forest preserve from 1995 to 1999. All the fish were killed off, huge dredging operations removed decades of sediment, banks were re-established, invasive plants were replaced with local varieties, and fish were re-stocked in the lagoons.
Believe it or not, this is the boat launch ramp to the right of the Tower Road dock. Several weeks of rain that year had all our Chicago area waterways well above flood stage when this photo was taken. This launch is located at the Tower Road exit of Edens Expressway, immediately east of the expressway on the south side of Tower Road just before the bridge over the lagoon connector channel. This is the best place (at normal water levels) to launch and it provides access to lagoons 3 and 4 and 5, which suffices for most recreational boaters. You can also portage over low dams and dikes to reach the other lagoons.