Ridge Avenue Park District

From HistoryWiki

The Ridge Avenue Park District was formed by West Ridge voters on April 14, 1896, and was the first of 19 neighborhood park commissions established after 1896 to serve areas recently annexed to the city. Chicago's three original park districts had authority only to create parks within the 1869 city limits. Indian Boundary Park was the second and largest of the four parks created by the Ridge Avenue Park District. The others were Morse (now Matanky), Chippewa Park, and Pottawattomie Park.

On August 28, 1912, the Ridge Avenue Park District decided to acquire land in the area where Philip McGregor Rogers had first built his house in the 1830s. The District's Board of Directors approved the purchase of the land in 1915. This land was designated as Indian Boundary Park on October 25, 1916, to commemorate the Treaty of St. Louis (1816) with the Native Americans and creation of the Indian Boundary Line.

Judge Joseph H. Fitch reminisced about this in the History of West Rogers Park, Document #4a:

I doubt if the Ridge Avenue Park District would ever have been formed if the spirit of West Ridge had not been aroused. The thing came directly from a remark by a speaker at a meeting held in Rogers Park which West Ridge people attended. The matter discussed there was the formation of the North Shore Park District. Senator Barbour, who was just Jimmy Barbour then, got up to make a speech and alluded to the people of West Ridge as "cabbageheads." That got the farmers mad and they organized their own park district.

The Headquarters for the newly formed park district was to be the field house of Indian Boundary Park. In a brochure about the new park district, it said :The interior (first floor) is to have a board room for meeting of the Commissioner, a Secretary's Office, and public meeting hall with a kitchen attached. The large hall will be available to the public for neighborhood gatherings and meetings of civic societies and improvement clubs. The basement is to have lavoratories directly accessible from the park."

It went on: "For the past few years, during the summer months, the Park Commissioners have tried to have at least one Commissioner in the park each evening. Upon completion of the new building, it is the aim of the park board to have at least one Commissioner at the board room each evening, (Saturdays and Sundays excepted) for the purpose of receiving complaints and constructive suggestions from the public."


Henry D. Capitain