November 22, 2014

This Missing Link: Diversey Boulevard

The Lost Connection of the
Boulevard/Park System
The related post to this one is called
but first, the failed boulevard connection to the park 
zoomed views below:
zoomed further below
the park only extended to Diversey at this point
A Birds Eye View
1908 map by Library of Congress
This map highlights the expansion of the park northward and the proposed boulevard link to Lincoln Park via Diversey
zoomed views below
zoomed even further
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 minus Diversey connection.
When Chicago officially incorporated as a city in 1837, it adopted the motto “Urbs in Horto,” a Latin phrase meaning “City in a Garden.” Despite this verdant slogan, the city had few public parks. Early residents succeeded in saving two small parcels of the lakefront as parkland. The few other small parks created during the 1840’s and 1850’s were donated or sold to the city at reduced rates by real-estate developers. These speculators knew that a small square in the center of a residential development would boost the value of the entire subdivision. In 1849, real-estate speculator John S. Wright suggested a much more ambitious system of parks and interconnected pleasure drives. At the time, however, the city government had neither the administrative nor the legal means to realize this vision. In the late 1860's Chicagoans rallied for additional parks, prompting the State Legislature to establish the South, West, and Lincoln Park Commissions in 1869. Each commission served its own jurisdiction and was responsible for improving one section of what was intended as a unified park and boulevard system. Reflecting Wright's suggestion of 20 years earlier, a ribbon of parks and pleasure drives encircling the city was envisioned.
illustration - Chicagology
It is certain, at least, that the foundations of Lincoln Park were laid in 1837, with the grant to the town[ship] of North Chicago of state lands for cemetery purposes, and in 1852, when under pressure of the cholera panic the city bought the land north of Fullerton Avenue for quarantine and hospital grounds [that was once part of the Township of Ridgeway (1850 - 57) and then the Township of Lake View in 1857].
Diversey Avenue Bridge in 1900
"The Chicago boulevard system is completed when the Diversey Parkway bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River is opened.  Chicagoans can now have a complete set of scenic roads over which they can travel “over Diversey and Humboldt boulevards to Humboldt Park, Central Park boulevard to Garfield Park, Southwestern boulevard to Douglas Park, thence over Western Avenue boulevard to Garfield boulevard and Jackson Park, and north in Michigan avenue to Lincoln Park, completing the circuit.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, 1900]. - Connecting the Windy CityWhile this statement was sorta true, the boulevard connection to Lincoln Park was hindered by property rights issues and conflicting governance issues between the the Lincoln Park Board Commissioners and the City of Chicago & taxes from the get go. 
The West Chicago Park Commissioners 
confer with the City of Lake View in 1881
The taxing authority for Humboldt Park was the West Chicago Commissioners and Lincoln Park was the Lincoln Park Board
of Commissioners while the streets were governed by the City of Lake View and the City of Chicago west of the North Branch of the Chicago River; yes it got complicated.

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 proposed connection from Humboldt Boulevard to Diversey
Articles about the Boulevard Linkage:
I hope you like reading
Petition for Governance in 1881
*City of Lake View becomes District of Lake View within the City of Chicago in 1889*
A Boulevard Connection 
on Wellington in February 1891
Inaction in July 3 by the City
in 1891
Diversey not Wellington to be Governed 
by Lincoln Park Board of Commissioners 
in July 1891
Lincoln Park Board of Commissioners 
Divided on Diversey Issue in 1897
Planting Trees 
in 1899
Paving the Streets 
in 1899
Let There be Light! 
Says the Judge in 1900
A Perspective on
 Diversey Boulevard in 1900

The Chain of Boulevards
 in 1904
 Widening the old Boulevard 
Still an Issue in 1928

40% Want a Widen Diversey 
in 1931
The Contents of the Lincoln Park System
by 1904
*Lincoln park boulevard=Michigan Avenue*
So, What Really Happened??
according to WTTW's Geoffrey
and below 
a current map 
of the boulevard/park system in Chicago
with a zoomed view of our area below
guess what's missing??

Post Note: 
What's a Parkway?
Ours is just a route to a park, Lincoln Park
via Google Maps
from inner Lake Shore Drive west

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