Columbia College Chicago

Belmont Rocks: New project remembers popular LGBTQ gathering spot

Belmont Rocks: New project remembers popular LGBTQ gathering spot

Belmont Rocks was the name for a stretch of Lakeview lakefront that was the destination in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s for Chicago’s LGBTQ community. It was, in the words of a tribute Facebook page, a “raunchy, wonderful, and unique spot.” And it was right out in the open too.

“I had never seen a gay beach in the middle of a big city,” recalled Doug Ischar, an associate professor of art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It was completely unmistakable. You couldn’t drive past on Lake Shore Drive and not notice it. It was a marvelous example of the determination of gay men to be visible and to be public and leave their mark in a sense.”

The Belmont Rocks are no...