Bubbly Creek, Chicago
It sounds rather quaint and charming, and like the perfect spot to take a dip. Yet Bubbly Creek is no place for swimming. Its fetid waters have been cleaned up in recent times, but such is the filth that underpins this grim river, you still shouldn’t think about venturing in.
The South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, this was once an open sewer — close to the city’s great meatpacking district — where blood and entrails from the surrounding slaughterhouses were once dumped in vast quantities.
It was the gases that bubbled up from the decomposing animal remains that gave the waterway its name. Not so quaint and charming after all. Huge ‘sludge-bergs’ made from grease and chemicals once blocked the river, whilst methane and hydrogen sulfide made the smell unbearable. The perfect spot to take a dip? Don’t even think about it.