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temperature schools for tuberculous children; a parental
school for truants at Bowmanville, caring for three hun-
dred and twenty-five boys under fourteen; and a school at
the Juvenile Detention Home for delinquents; apprentice,
vocational, agricultural, and continuation schools. In
many of the crowded districts the schoolhouse is used as a
social center for the neighborhood and provides a free hall
for all kinds of public meetings, clubs, dances, and classes
of every kind, all under suitable supervision, often a paid
social director. The people of Chicago are beginning to
use their tremendous investment in school lands and build-
ings seven days a week and twelve months a year instead
of letting it stand idle one-third of the time.

What of the child who must leave school and go to work ?
The board of education holds out a helping hand to aid
him in finding a suitable job through a new bureau of vo-


cational supervision. This bureau keeps a list of employers
of child labor, investigates the positions, consults teachers,
employers, parents, and the child, and then tries to get the
young worker into a suitable position for which he is
naturally fitted.


Chicago owes her public library to the efforts of an Eng-
lishman, Thomas Hughes, who secured a donation of seven
thousand volumes in England immediately after the great
fire of 1871 and persuaded even Queen Victoria to con-
tribute some of the books. The first volume of this col-
lection, bearing the Queen's autograph, is still exhibited in
the library if any interested visitor requests a view of the

The present beautiful building houses over 400,000 vol-
umes and serves more than 100,000 regular patrons hold-
ing readers' cards. In the reading, circulation, reference,
public documents, civics, art, and children's rooms, the gen-
eral and special needs of readers are met. A recent in-
novation is a " study room for women," on the fourth
floor, to serve the needs of club women in preparing club
programs and for the study of topics included in all gov-
ernmental subjects of interest to the new woman voter
who desires to use her ballot intelligently.

The present librarian (23) won his position through com-
petitive examination a pioneer experiment in civil-service
examinations for such difficult and important positions.
It proved a decided success in securing an efficient, pro-
gressive librarian.

A dozen branch reading-rooms, many in schools and field
houses in the parks, and several circulation centers are also


maintained. Many delivery-stations for the convenience
of readers in distant parts of the city are maintained.

The library is governed by a board of nine directors ap-
pointed by the mayor with the consent of the council, for
three years, and they serve without pay. The library is
supported by a special tax of one mill which is levied on
all taxable property in the city, but this is scaled down
under the Juul law.



1. Annual Report: Special Park Commission, Chicago, 1915.

(This shows what can be done with a small sum of money
wisely used.)

2. The Park Governments of Chicago, Chicago Bureau of Public

Efficiency, December, 1911. (Following facts are largely based
on this admirable report. All the reports of the Bureau of
Public Efficiency are of exceeding value and interest. They
are supplied without charge to any one who desires them.)
Address the director, Harris S. Keeler, 315 Plymouth Court,

3. Map of the park districts of Chicago. (24)

" The Chicago park situation is unparalleled in any city
of this country." This bad condition is due to the large
number of independent park districts. Chicago -is famous
the world over for its parks, playgrounds, and boulevards ;
but the city sadly needs consolidation of park management
under the city government. There are sixteen separate
park governments within the city of Chicago, not counting
the special park commission, an arm of the city government.
Fifteen of these governments are independent taxing bodies,
the Lincoln Park Commission having no separate taxing
power. Existing park boards now spend approximately
six million dollars annually. Do the people of Chicago re-


within the


Large Park I

Boulevard } Solid Black

Small Park u

Fieldhouse and Playground

Small Park with Fieldhouse _

and Playground 1=1

Bathing Beach #

Park A

Playground Q

Bathing Beach O

Boundary of Park District mmmam

Division of .Towns within


Prepared by




ceive dollar for dollar in value for this large expendi-

Moreover there is a general statute, applying to territory
not within any existing park district, under which addi-
tional park districts may be established by petition signed
by one hundred voters, to the county judge, and a special
election to approve such petition for a park district. Five
commissioners are elected to manage the new district.
These commissioners have power to levy a special park tax.
The commissioners serve without pay, and may issue bonds
if permitted by the voters. This law applies to the entire
State and under its authority thousands of park dis-
tricts have been created.

The park districts of Chicago are very unequally divided
among the three sides of the city. The entire area is now
over 3,500 acres; but it is not distributed according to popu-
lation and the great needs of the people in the congested
wards of the West and Northwest Sides.

The park governments (25) as now organized can not
easily be controlled by the people of Chicago. The West
and Lincoln Park Boards are appointed by the governor of
Illinois and the South Park Board by the circuit judges of
Cook County. The park employees since 1911 have been
under the civil-service rules of the State. Consolidation
of the several park governments with the city government
would centralize control and responsibility and make the
government of the parks more democratic. The saving
thus effected is estimated at a half a million of dollars a
year. That sum of money would go a great way in extend-
ing Chicago's system of small parks and playgrounds. The
special park commission under the city government does
wonders with its small appropriation from the city council.


The South Park Board has the great advantage of the im-
mensely valuable property in the loop to tax and therefore
has more money than it can spend. This naturally leads
to extravagance and waste, while the crowded West Side,
with its congested foreign population, and dire need of
public recreation parks, swimming pools, and field houses,
is too poor to provide all these facilities unaided. The
only sensible method is to fit expenditure to needs and
spend the South Side surplus on West Side necessities.

Chicago's Problems. One of Chicago's most difficult
problems is the large percentage of foreign-born whites in
the city now 35.7 per cent. If to these foreign-born
persons are added those of foreign or mixed parentage,
Chicago's percentage leaps up to 77.5. Chicago ranks third
among the cities of the United States in its population,
foreign born and of foreign-born parentage. New York
heads the list with 78.6 per cent.; Milwaukee has exactly
the same percentage 78.6 per cent. ; Chicago is third,
with 77.5 per cent. (26)

In common with all large American cities, Chicago shares
the problems created by the presence of such numbers of
the foreign born, alien to our language and our ways, yet
eager to learn both and share in our opportunities for work
and the chance to make good in business and industry.
We must never forget our heavy debt to the strong muscles
and willing hands of these strangers in our midst. They
build and elevate our railroads, dig our drainage canals
and sewers; man our factories, build our sky-scrapers and
make possible all our great manufacturing industries.
They give us the best they have, their strength and health.
What return do we make for this necessary service? Too
often the slum district is our answer.


Chicago is face to face with large problems of municipal
improvement that must be solved soon, or the city cannot
go forward. A sanitary, economical, modern disposal of
garbage and all kinds of city waste heads the list, a system
big enough to care for every block in the city (27) ; rapid,
safe, cheap transportation that will distribute the working
population away from the congested centers into suburbs
where there is land suitable for homes; the best way to
" burn our own smoke " and clear the atmosphere ; the re-
demption of the lake front ; consolidation of twenty-two sep-
arate governments within Chicago : a suitable harbor
these seem to be the most pressing of Chicago's problems.

John Fiske was right when he wrote :," The modern
city has come to be a huge corporation for carrying on a
huge business with many branches." It is coming to be
more human than a corporation and to mean a business
proposition plus social service.


Of the sanitary commissioners and sanitary district
trustees, throughout the State, the most powerful and the
best paid are those of the sanitary district of Chicago.
Study the map of the sanitary district, p. 51. The san-
itary district of Chicago is a municipal corporation created
by the act of 1889 to provide a drainage system for the
" preservation of the public health " by purifying the wa-
ter supply. This is to be accomplished finally by turning
all the sewage in the sanitary district into the drainage canal
and away from Lake Michigan.

The excavated portion of the sanitary canal begins at
Robey Street, Chicago, and runs about thirty miles to the
controlling works at Lockport. Fifteen miles of this main


SHOMf/G THf MA/M CtfAMfl.,


channel is cut through solid rock. It cuts through the
watershed, once a glacial moraine, at Summit, Illinois, and
reverts to preglacial conditions by reversing the current in
the Chicago river and causing that river to flow west and
south instead of into the lake.

The entire canal is one of the most remarkable in the
world owing to difficulties surmounted in its construction
and 'to its purpose. The canal was opened by admitting
the required amount of water from Lake Michigan in
January 1900.

There are nine trustees elected for six years, in the
November elections, only three being chosen at once. The
original act has been amended several times to increase the
territory included in the district and the powers of the san-
itary trustees by allowing them to develop and sell the
electric power created by the canal. The sanitary board
sells the electricity developed at Lockport, and the cities of
Joliet, Lockport, and part of Chicago are lighted from this
current : also the Chicago City Hall ; Lincoln Park, West
and South Side systems (in part), and the County Build-
ing. It costs about fifteen cents an hour to light brilliantly
the council chamber of the Chicago City Hall from this
municipally generated electric current a striking illus-
tration of the difference in cost of a commodity manufac-
tured by a public instead of a private corporation.

The sanitary trustees have very large powers of taxation
and bond issue. The employees of the district are not un-
der any civil-service law, and appointments are largely made
for political instead of merit reasons. The man who con-
trols the vote gets the "job" every time! This is a seri-
ous defect in the law because of the millions of dollars ex-
pended by the sanitary board. The drainage canal has


cost the people over eighty-five millions already, and con-
tracts are pending in the construction of the Sag-Calumet
branch canal that call for many millions more. Such huge
expenditures demand honest, efficient work and strict ac-
count of every dollar spent if the tax-payers get a just
return for their money. The salary of the trustees is large
- $5,000 annually and the president of the board has
$7,500. These increased salaries have been in force since
July i, 1911. (Rev. Stat., 1912, ch. 24, sec. 346.) This
is another reason the work of the board should be carefully
watched and only men of the highest character, who will
serve the public faithfully, be elected as trustees. (28)

28 refers to non-partizan organization of Council Committees. See
pp. 224-225, Appendix D.



1. Forman : Advanced Civics, ch. xxvii.

(Hist, town and township government in general.)

2. Forman: American Republic, chs. xxiii, xxiv. (In general.)

3. J. A. Fairlie: Town and County Government in Illinois; Re-

port Joint-Leg. Com., 47th Gen. Ass'y, 1912, Vol II.

4. M. H. Newell : Township Government in Illinois, 1904. 111.

Hist. Pubs., No. 9, pp. 467-504.

5. Revised Statutes, ch. 139.

I. Meaning of Terms. There is great confusion in
the use of the terms, toivn, township, civil and congressional
townships, and incorporated town throughout the State.
The following definitions are based on the Revised Statutes
and decisions of the Illinois Supreme Court :

The terms town, township, and incorporated town are used in
various ways to describe (i) geographical and (2) civil or gov-
ernmental divisions of the county or State, as follows:

" i. The term township, or its abbreviation town, is used to de-
scribe a geographical division of land, approximately six miles
square. This is also known as a congressional township, because
its boundaries were determined by the United States governmental
survey under an act of Congress.

" 2. The term township, or its abbreviation town, is also used
to designate a civil division of the county. This civil township,
or town, is an involuntary governmental agency; that is, it is im-
posed upon the people living within the territory which it em-



braces by a vote of the electors of the entire county, rather than
by a vote of the electors who live within its boundaries.

"3. The term town, or incorporated town, as it is more fre-
quently used, denotes a municipal corporation which in all essen-
tial respects is identical with the municipal corporation known as
a village. 1 The incorporated town or village differs from the civil
town or township in that it is a voluntary municipal corporation
organized by the voters living within the territory included in the
town or village, whereas the simple town or township is an invol-
untary governmental agency, as explained above."

II. How Towns Are Formed. Any county in Illi-
nois may be divided into towns whenever a majority of the
voters at any general election approve the proposition. In
that case it is the duty of the county board to appoint three
commissioners to make the division. The commissioners
must make the towns coincide with congressional townships
if possible and must select names for them; but no two
towns in the State may have the same name. 2

" In 1910 there were 1430 civil townships, or towns, in the
eighty-five counties of Illinois under township organization.
Most of them are rural communities with a population from 1,000
to 2,000. But, except in Chicago, where the townships have been
practically abolished since 1903, the Illinois townships include
cities and villages within their geographical limits; so there are
a number of townships of from 10,000 to 60,000 population. The
township of Joliet, for instance, contains 16,000 inhabitants out-

1 " This does not mean that the powers of a village organized under
the Cities and Villages Act may be exactly the same as the powers of
an incorporated town, because the incorporated town, in most cases,
was incorporated under a special act of the Legislature passed prior
to the constitution of 1870 and under and by virtue of which the town
still exercises such power as it has. A special charter like this might
confer other or different powers than those conferred upon a village
organized under the Cities and Villages Act."

2 Rev. Stat., ch. 139, sec. 1-7.


side of the city of Joliet. There are also eight cities in Illinois
coextensive with townships East St. Louis, Springfield (Capitol
Tw'p.), Evanston ("Town of the City of Evanston"), (i) Rock
Island, Moline, Macomb, Berwyn, and Belleville. The village of
Oak Park is also coextensive with the township of the same name.''

The city of Cairo is coextensive with the election 'pre-
cinct of the same name. Cairo's county, Alexander, is a
" non-township " county. These facts illustrate the truth
of Dr. Fairlie's conclusion that the " system of local gov-
ernment in Illinois as a whole is more complicated and con-
fusing than in any other State." 3

III. The Town Legislature. The General Assem-
bly of the State and the county board are representative
bodies elected by the voters. On the other hand, in the
town the law-making body is the voters themselves assem-
bled in a town- or mass-meeting. This means a pure
democracy and is the only instance of such kind of govern-
ment in Illinois. The annual town-meeting is held the first
Tuesday in April. This is the months for all regular local
elections in Illinois except that for the county officers, which
occurs in November at the same time as the election for
State officers, congressmen, United States senators, 4 and
Presidential electors.

Towns lying wholly within the limits of a city elect town
officers on the same day as the city elections, the third
Tuesday in April, except in Chicago, Evanston, and several

3 Town and County Government in Illinois, by John A. Fairlie, in
Report of Joint-Legislative Com., 47th General Assembly, 1912, Vol.
II. Also see article, same title and author, in Annals Am. Acad., May
*9i3, PP- i-4> 9-12. Dr. Fairlie's reports are classics on the very
difficult subject of local government in Illinois.

4 Seventeenth Amendment, Constitution U. S., 1913. Popular elec-
tion U. S. senators.


other cities where the old towns are practically abolished
and the work of the town officers performed by the city
officials. The business of the town-meeting, presided over
by a chairman called a moderator, is now very slight : to
elect town officers, hear reports, provide for keeping the
roads clear of stray cattle, and a few other duties. The
town government is for rural communities, and is very much
out of date for cities and large villages. In New England
and in the rural counties of Illinois under township or-
ganization, the town-meeting is still " a school for citizen-

IV. Town Executive Officers. The town officers
are a supervisor (with assistant supervisors in the more
populous towns), town clerk, assessor, collector, now
elected for two-year terms ; 5 three commissioners of high-
ways, elected for three years, one retiring each year ; 6
justices of the peace and constables, from two to five ac-
cording to population, elected every four years. These
town officers are paid by the day for actual services, or by
fee. It would be much better if they were paid annual
salaries and required to render strict account of all fees
received. There is a town board of health, consisting of
the supervisor, assessor, and town clerk. Also a board of
town auditors, made up of the supervisor, clerk, and justices
of the peace, that examines all accounts of the town

SUPERVISOR. In counties under township organization,
except Cook County, the supervisor acts in two capacities :
as chief executive for the town and as a member of the
county board. As a town officer he handles all town funds

5 Since April, 1910. Rev. Stat., ch. 139, sec. 154.

6 May elect only one, if voters of township choose.


except school money; 7 is ex-officio overseer of the poor,
and provides temporary relief for persons in need, or ar-
ranges for their care in the county infirmary (poor house).
In towns of more than 4,000 population there may be a
special poor master appointed by the county board. In
this case there is little left for the supervisor to do, because
the town tax levy is only a few hundred dollars. The
average for 1912, outside of Cook County, was only $615.

TOWN CLERK keeps the records of town-meetings and
all booksv and papers for the town ; certifies to the county
clerk the amount of taxes required for town purposes and
acts as clerk for the highway commissioners.

ASSESSOR places a value on all taxable real estate within
the town and distributes and receives all personal property
schedules. 8 The election of town assessors frequently il-
lustrates the " survival of the unfit," because they get re-
election on the promise to assess property in the town low,
regardless of needs.

COLLECTOR receives all general taxes in the township and
pays them over to the proper officers, retaining his per-
centage for collection. 9

HIGHWAY COMMISSIONERS (one or three, as the town-
ship decides at an election), levy the road and bridge tax.
This road tax must now (1913) be paid in money. A poll
(head) tax, from one to two dollars, may be levied for
road or bridge building. 10 This is the only poll tax ever
levied in Illinois. (See Chapter IV, The County.)

7 Will act as town treasurer after April 1914, and custodian of the
road and bridge money. Session Laws, 1913.

8 See ch. v, The Public Pocketbook, p. 91

9 See ch. v, The Public Pocketbook, p. 95.

10 State Aid Good Roads Law, in force, July i, 1913.


cial officers of the town. There must be at least two in
each township, so that a case may be changed from one
justice's court to the other if any partiality is shown either
party in the suit. This is called " change of venue." The
number of justices and constables can not exceed five. Al-
though elected in the township, their jurisdiction extends
over the entire county.

The jurisdiction of a justice of the peace is limited to
petty, civil and criminal cases involving not more than $200,
or where the punishment is by fine only, not over $200 and
costs. They may try violations of the dram-shop law,
cases of assault, or assault and battery; but they may ex-
amine any case and bind the offender over to await the ac-
tion of the grand jury. This will hold him in the county
jail until his trial unless he can secure bail.

Justices also have the right to perform marriage cere-
monies. They may put any violent or disorderly person
under a bond to keep the peace. Justices are paid by fees
and this is often a source of much injustice and petty graft.
Our petty courts would be much improved if justices of
the peace and constables were paid fixed salaries and the
fees collected went into the town or the county treasury.

The orders of the justice of the peace are enforced by the
constable. It is his duty also to keep peace in the town and
arrest offenders. In counties without township organiza-
tion, the justices and constables are chosen in each elec-

11 Ridgeville Township had the distinction of having the first woman
as justice of the peace in Illinois, Mrs. Catherine Waugh McCulloch,
of Evanston. She was elected April 1907, and reflected April 1909.
She held an office for which she could not vote herself, a curious
anomaly. Two other women have been elected justices of the peace
in Illinois since Mrs. McCulloch's election, but she was the pioneer.


tion district into which such counties are divided by the
county board.

Town officers do their most important work as agents of
the State and county governments, especially in the assess-
ment and collection of taxes.

" NON-TOWNSHIP " COUNTIES. There are seventeen
" non-township " counties in Illinois. These seventeen
counties have assessors, collectors, highway commissioners,
justices of the peace, and constables elected in " road dis-
tricts " and " election precincts " into which these coun-
ties are divided by the county board. They do not have
supervisors or town clerks because the duties of these of-
ficers are performed by the three county commissioners
and the county clerk.

The following comparison of the peace officers in cities

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Online LibraryMary Louise ChildsActual government in Illinois → online text (page 4 of 16)