Establishing the Parks

Thursday, March 2, 1871

The Board of West Side Park Commissioners (there are equivalent boards for the South Side and for Lincoln Park) holds its second annual meeting.  Board President George W. Stanford presents the annual report, calling for an open-ended commitment to investment in the emerging park system.  He offers a practical argument and a criticism of Chicago's development to date.  “In the past,” he states, “we find no precedent where, in any large city, this kind of improvement has proven otherwise than profitable to the tax-payer.”  Stanford continues:  “It is a notorious fact, with regard to Chicago, that heretofore, with all its business and commercial advantages, it has afforded no sufficient attraction or inducement to bring hither, or keep within its borders, that large and valuable class of inhabitants who seek pleasant homes, within which to spend well-earned fortunes.”