February 5, 2013

Lake Front Lovers Lane — Creating Havoc

Bill Matteson
Uptown Chicago History Correspondent

With all the activity going on in Uptown, why would anyone go out of their way to cause trouble?

Sometimes in the evening with nothing to do, we would borrow Don French'ss big Indian Chief with the side car and head out to the park to harass the people along "Lovers Lane."

Lovers Lane, as we called it in those days, was any place along the lakefront and on any night of the week. It would be almost impossible for me to convince anyone today about the amount of sex that went on in the park. The street that runs adjacent to the south side of the harbor was always crowded down into the turnaround and back up from there on Simmons Drive to Lawrence Ave. I am talking bumper to bumper sex, hundreds of cars. There were no hotels / motels around in those days.

The police would do a slow drive by, the couples would make an attempt to show nothing was going on, and then they'd resume whatever they were doing as soon as the police passed by.

Now these are just the cars. Other couples without cars just walked to the park with a blanket. They were sprawled all across the grass. The area around Cricket Field was a hot spot of activity.

So one warm summers evenings, me and Lionel Rowe headed to the lakefront to create some havoc.
There were three lights on the front of the windbreak, so we covered two of them with red cellophane, keeping them turned off until we started a trip across the grass.

The headlight and red lights went on, girls screamed, and guys swore. We saw a lot of bare skin, both genders, then we hit the drive near the harbor. People were jumping and screaming, some guys chased us, and we escaped by the skin of our teeth.

Lionel and I laughed about this for a couple of weeks until we thought it would be fun to do it again.

So somewhere along Simmons Drive we noticed we were being followed by a three-wheel motorcycle cop. He pulled us over, and the next day we had to appear before the desk sergeant at the Town Hall Police Station. Seems like people were reporting being harassed by the police in the park and made some formal complaints

The motorcycle cops that were assigned to that area on the nights we did our dastardly deed were called on the carpet. The desk sergeant didn't believe them. So Lionel and I showed up and told our story. The desk sergeant didn't want to believe us and thought we concocted the story to save the cops on duty.
So we had to show the leftover red cellophane, tell where we got it, and promise never to do it again.
The sergeant then said, that takes care of all three of these incidents. I looked at the cop who busted us and he was laughing, no wonder he was nice to us!

Lionel and I only did it twice.

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