Ever heard of the American Lotus? One small colony of these giant aquatic flowers was spotted last summer inside the little bay on the north end of Newport Cove, our waterfront community on Bluff Lake In the late 1890s and early 1900s, many of the lakes on the Chain O’ Lakes were literally covered with American Lotus flowers. They were so prevalent that boating companies gave tours during the blooming season. Chicagoland visitors – especially those who could take the new Milwaukee Road train from the City – vied for seats on the “Egyptian Lotus” tour boats. Grass Lake, because it was shallow, often was covered with lotus blossoms from shore to shore. The American Lotus is a larger cousin of the water lily. The plant’s simple, round, bluish-green leaves grow up to two feet in diameter. Its pale yellow flowers are large (up to 10 inches across).  Next July or August, while cruising on the Chain, keep an eye out for one of the beds of American Lotus still decorating the lakes and backwaters.  Picture the Victorian women in their white summer dresses, the gentlemen with their straw hats.  Picture them floating – on a lazy summer afternoon – through the beds of these grandiose blooms.


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