Clipping:The legal status of the Lakefront Grounds

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Date Wednesday, January 23, 1884

That portion of the lake front property occupied for base ball purposes is wanted for a depot site by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, which for the past twelves years has maintained a standing offer of $800,000 in cash for the ground. The title is in the city of Chicago, but with this important restriction, that the old act of Congress dedicating the land tot he city contained a condition that it should perpetually be used for public park purposes. Under this stipulation the city could not sell the land, and so the transfer to the railroad company has hung fire for a dozen years, and the matter has been tied up by an injunction against such a transfer, issued long ago by Judge Drummond in the United States Circuit Court. But while the city could not sell, it could lease the land for temporary occupation from year to year, and in this way the ball club has kept possession of the north end of the tract for six years past, while further south stand the Exposition Building and the armories of Battery D, and the First Regiment of Cavalry, I.N.G., all of them substantial and expensive structures, erected upon permits issued by the city, and safe in their occupancy so long as the city was unable to give a good title to the land. But the situation is now changed. The Illinois Central Railroad is before the City Council with an offer to pay $800,000 for a certain portion of the land (including the ball park site), and take a quit claim deed from the city, the railroad company trusting to its own efforts to get through Congress a bill which shall release the original dedication for park purposes, and there make the title perfect in the Illinois Central Railroad Company. Mayor Harrison favors the immediate acceptance of the offer of $800,000, the newspapers favor it and public sentiment is not averse to it; so that all that is required to carry out the deal is for the railroad company to put up a few thousand dollars to make it pleasant for the Alderman. If this is done the city will give possession, and the ball club must move unless some new form of legal obstruction is invented to avert the catastrophe for the season. The two military organizations, whose large brick armories would have to be pulled down, will work hard for a year’s delay, but it will be but for a year at most, for the city needs the money and the taxes it can collect after the land passes into other hands. [An addendum notes that the Aldermen passed the measure to sell the property by a vote of 23 to 9.]

Source Sporting Life
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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