When a mechanical engineer today proposed building a floating entertainment island full off Chicago's shoreline, he wasn't the first to dream of building on Lake Michigan.

Here are some ideas that didn't see fruition:

• In 1884, it was reported that residents wanted to build an artificial island on 40 acres of land on Lake Michigan. The site was envisioned as a "highly popular" place for summer cottages and was touted as a place where the wealthy would vacation.

• In 1958 Mayor Richard J. Daley proposed building a third airport in Chicago on a man-made island in the middle of the lake. The idea was part of a grand vision to remake and redevelop downtown Chicago.

• In 1975, a letter to the editor printed in the Tribune proposed building a superhighway through Lake Michigan that could connect Illinois to Michigan. The writer proposed calling it the "Lake Michigan Expressway." At the same time, he suggested that a man-made satellite city could be built on the Lake with new homes, apartments and an amusement park.

• In 1982 a proposal was floated to build a 180-acre island for the 1992 Chicago World's Fair. The island would have been constructed on millions of tons of rock and stone and would have cost $1 billion, the Tribune reported.

• In 2011, developers proposed building offshore wind farms on the lake. The farm would mean placing dozens of wind turbines on the lake to generate energy for homes and businesses. Illinois is one of five states that is developing a system to evaluate those kinds of proposals.

lbowean@tribune.com | Twitter: @lollybowean