November 22, 2014

This Missing Link: Diversey Parkway

The Last/Lost Connection for the
Boulevard/Park System
image - Joe Mills via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
1879-80 Map highlights the missing connection of Diversey
 Map of the parklands (green) connected by boulevards 
along with North Western Rail Lines in yellow
1893 Rand McNally map highlights the green that represented the park system and the boulevards that connected them or should have
another view of Diversey as a link from 
Humboldt Park to Lincoln Park 1898
zoomed image - via Man on Five

Chicago’s Park Boulevard System was the first major comprehensive park/roadway system in the country, and its design was seminal in the creation of such systems in cities nationwide. The system’s boulevards and parklands were created in the late 1800's to spur residential real-estate development and to help create healthful, accessible and livable neighborhoods in what was then the largely underdeveloped outskirts of Chicago. The boulevard system created one of the city’s most recognizable and lasting urban features that helped to define the historic visual character of many of Chicago’s neighborhoods including Lake View.
Diversey Boulevard 1891

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1849 - The Conception of the Boulevard System 
John S. Wright, an early Chicago developer, envisioned a need for beautification of the dusty, dirty communities and underdeveloped areas of the 12-year-old city.
1850's and 1860's - Cemetery turned Parkland   
Concerns about the health threat posed by an unsightly North Side lakefront cemetery called the
Chicago Cemetery furthered the park movement in the 1850's and 1860's. Physician John H. Rauch knew that the water supply was contaminated by less understood disease called cholera. He knew that  poor burial conditions in the sandy, marsh like low-lying site caused periodic outbreaks since the 1840's. About same time Dr. Rauch had an romantic interest in the world's most famous park systems. He thought why not here in Chicago. That thought led him to a city-wide crusade to convert the city cemetery into a public park. North-siders rallied behind his cause. In 1860, 60 acres were reserved as a ‘pleasure ground’. Five years later, after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the park was renamed in his honor.  Chicago Cemetery’s function as a north-side cemetery ended by 1870.  By then, the cemeteries in Lake View Township had become a destination for visiting Chicagoans. 
1866 - Support by the Chicago Times newspaper
The Chicago Times published an outline based on John S. Wright's concept. It proposed a continuous encirclement of the city with a 2,240-acre park, 14 miles long by one-quarter mile wide, and boulevards lining each side of the park strip.
1869 - Special Legislation created three park districts
The State of Illinois passed three pieces of legislation creating the South, West and North (Lincoln) Park districts. It not only outlined the powers and duties of the park districts, but also detailed the location of the parks and connecting boulevards.
1871 - Control over the Boulevards
To ensure that the boulevards were ‘pleasure drives’, speed limits were set at a maximum of eight miles per hour in 1871, and all vehicles (horse-drawn) "transporting merchandise, commercial goods, building materials, manure, soil, and other articles" were banned from the boulevards by 1873. Originally, the boulevards served the wealthy, who built their mansions along the parkway. Soon, however, public phaetons (carriages) traveled along the boulevards to permit greater access to the parks by all citizens of Chicago.

1875 -  North Park District 
The Missing Link: Diversey Boulevard
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 the North (Lincoln) Park District plan was delayed by litigation over its taxing authority by land speculators who wanted large sums of money for their own property. Legal challenges from both land speculators and by the 'anti-taxation' working class and other less affluent citizens of the north-side were resolved by 1875 whereby the taxing authorized district were not empowered by the levy of taxes for the widening of Diversey Avenue. In other words, commercial and residential development by purchase and/or razing hundreds of buildings was to be prohibitive by the citizens of the Township and later the City of Lake View.
Articles of the Boulevard Link
To Lincoln Park & Lake View
An 1881 A Request from Lake View Township 
1898 map image - Man on Five
The block of green indicate parks 
while the green lines indicated the boulevards
1891 February 
 Linking the Two Park Systems
1891 February  
Zig-Zag Route via Wellington Avenue 1891
1891 June 
Wellington vs Diversey to be the Boulevard 
1891 July 
Diversey Avenue to be Governed 
1892 September 
Diversey will become a Boulevard
1895 Naming Diversey a Boulevard 
But in the same year it was finally decided ...
(The Board of Commissioners of Lincoln Park governed the roadways near Lincoln Park, the park)

text - 'Lincoln Park 1899'
Because the cost of the Boulevard System laid squarely on the property owners of the roadway and not the taxing authorities of the townships the business owners declined to pay for it ...
 This edited 1893 Rand McNally map highlights the connection from Humbolt Boulevard to Diversey
  This edited Rand McNally 1893 map highlights the connection along Diversey to the park 
This 1897 Rand McNally map below 
still highlights that same connection
Later in the next Century ... 
1945 to 1955 - Deterioration of the boulevard system
World War II siphoned off money previously allotted to landscape parkland beautification. Soldiers returned from the war and began families moved to the suburbs where new and affordable housing was offered in abundance. Many wealthy families abandoned their residences along the boulevards and in their place came less affluent families who could not afford the high cost of maintenance of the large buildings. By the 1950's, many sections of the boulevard system began to crumble from neglect, and magnificent mansions razed to make way for less expensive homes or apartments. Since mansions on the south boulevards built in the 1880's were the oldest, decay began there first. Mansions on Kedzie and Logan Boulevards built in the early 1900's were largely spared, since original families still occupied them and could afford the cost of continued maintenance.
1959 - Transfer of boulevards to the City of Chicago
The Park District relinquished control of the boulevards to the City in 1959, retaining control only of the parks. By the 1950s, the Chicago Park District was responsible for 169 parks totaling approximately 6,300 acres of land. The Department of Streets and Sanitation and later Forestry with reduced budgets have had difficulty maintaining the pristine beauty that originally existed.
1995 - The City is in a Re-discovery of the old system
Like many large cities, Chicago lost population during a move to the suburbs in the 1960's - 1980's. By 1995, Chicago was being recognized as an attractive place to live again and residents saw the boulevards as a hybrid of formal city living combined with the spatial feeling of the suburbs. The visual effect of living near the boulevards with its charming blend of original architectural buildings and immediate access to downtown and the airport via an expressway fueled a desire for new construction. The boulevard would have been located just north of the harbor.
Even after the Boulevard was lost to 
Diversey issues remained
1928  Private Property Rights an Issue
in the Eastern Lake View
1931 40% Demand it but ...
1931 The One Way Solution
Simply put, the plan to create the boulevard for this street came to an end when property landowners closer to the existing lakefront with their expensive homes thought that a less square footage of property would mean less value for their homes. Besides there were a number of manufacturing plants along the street at that time near the north branch of the Chicago River that might have had issues with widening, as well. 

Post Notes: 
View this YouTube video about a modern day bike ride through the boulevard system via WTTW. 

Important Note: 
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

October 13, 2014

The Crib & Pumping Station

At one time Township/City built & operated a crib and pumping station for it's citizens
The Crib
Early settlers in both in Chicago and the north townships of Jefferson and Lake View obtained their drinking water from the Chicago River. Having no infrastructure yet in place, the early settlers simply carried water home in buckets or had water delivered by private vendors. However, the lack of an adequate sewer system at the time led to increased and unchecked pollution of the area's water supplies. Outbreaks of cholera began a problem. Both Township of Lake View and the City of Chicago administrators created a better plan. Both created off shore facilities to pump water from the lake to the mainland as well as reversing the flow of the Chicago River. 
the guts of the crib - Library of Congress
These off shore facilities were connected by a tunnel system to the mainland to be delivered by a pumping station. One of these pumping stations was located in Lake View Township on the corner of Clarendon and Montrose avenues. According to a 1900 annual report by the Chicago Public Works Department 44 million gallons for lake water traveled the pumping station within a 24 hour time period. Maintaining the new water treatment facilities became to expensive for the citizens of the township and after the annexation of Lake View and Jefferson Townships in 1889 the City of Chicago became stewards of both the pumping station(s) and the intake crib but without apparent input for the new Chicago aldermen of the area.
Problems with the Supply of Water in 1891
A Race around the Crib in 1891

Crib and Tunnel Maintenance 1892
The Water Works in 1896
map -  New York Public Library Digital Collections
The Tunnel
The tunnel from the Crib to the pumping station was completed in 1891. The Crib was decommissioned in 1924
text - Dept of Chicago Public Works 1891
View and read about the shoreline of Lake Michigan before the existence of roads along the lakefront from my sister site  
LakeView Historical-Facebook, called ...
This University of Chicago map shows 
This University of Chicago map shows 
1924 demolition photo below
a 1904 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
a 1887 Sanborn Fire Map of the location
Lake View's first pumping station was authorized for construction by the township in 1875. The second station was constructed just south of the original by 1915 when the area was then referred to as the District of Lake View. Both stations were located on Clarendon & Montrose AvenuesThe station supplied a large portion of Chicago's water needs throughout the first half of the 20th century. The equipment at the second site included three Nordberg pumping engines & a Bethlehem Steel Company pumping engine, all with a capacity of pumping 25 million gallons per dayThe second & last station, abandon for decades, was demolished in 1979. 
 a 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

The first Lake View Township Water Works Pumping Station operational 1876-1913 and then replaced 
by a more modern facility 
the replacement diagram above
A temporary building was constructed to streamline the process from one building to another
the temporary centrifuge
A temporary station needed to be built so continue the water supply to the residents of Lake View
one building is razed while the building rises
The second pumping station 1913-1959
View of Montrose Avenue after the pipe vault was buried
Location Illustrations of the Pumping Station
image 1
 image 2
  image 3
  image 4
The Interior of the Second Building

the main value panel 
Lawrence Avenue Beach 
with pumping station chimney in background - unknown date 
Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
photos - Friends of Cuneo-Facebook
view west on Montrose Avenue east of hospital
an aerial view of the smoke stack to the right of the photo
Clarendon at Irving Park Road 1960ish 
with a view of the plants chimney 
in the distance east of the hospital 
The abandoned pumping station view west 1970's
  Articles about the Water Works & 
 The New Tunnel in 1890
More Issues 1896
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Plans for the old station in 1971
a 1928 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of the area
 a zoomed view below
This 1928 Sanborn Fire Map shows not only pumping station but also the Clarendon Public Bathing Beach facility along the Clarendon Avenue - the post popular beach location on the north-side at the time.
Future Plans of the Area
the area view of the site from Google Earth
The general scope of the planned development was a major concern to neighborhood associations & block clubs that had traffic concerns due to this massive project like this one. 
the area with inserts of the past and future
The New 'Lake View Station'
this development named after the original Water Works will be located across the street on the west side of Clarendon
the original planned development above
the last rendition below

Planned Development 2013
 via the 46th Chicago Ward office
A mid 2018 view from Google Maps
the original Lake View Water Works was located 
at the tennis courts
A Water Works Summary
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Post Notes:
a Illustration of a Water Work Site
View more photos of the Lake View Pumping Station via The Library of Congress. Read about the existing Cribs in Chicago from this 2000 article and this article.

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!