Lake of the Woods Beach and Waterslide
Did you know that Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve had a large swimming beach and even a seaslide?! Check out images of the past outdoor amusement that called Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve home! Do you or anyone you know have any memories of the swimming beach or seaslide?!
"Many area residents took advantage of Saturday's summer weather for a day in the park. The giant slide at Lake of the Woods Park in Mahomet was one well-used attraction during the hot afternoon." Urbana Courier, June 4, 1978 (Photo courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives, Urbana Free Library)
Lake of the Woods Beach and Parking Lot Aerial View (Urbana Free Library/CCHA)
Popular Day for Beachgoers at Lake of the Woods!
A couple comes barreling down the Lake of the Woods seaslide on a wooden sled!
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 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.