At one time the now world acclaimed genius and beauty of the Chicago lakefront was just a derelict treeless wasteland of squatters, trash collections and garbage dumping, pollution, and ever scheming land developers; and would have become swallowed up and soon overbuilt with commercial buildings owned and controlled by private interests, blocking the open lakefront, and barring the public from its access and use.
It took the inspiration and dedication of heroes like Aaron Montgomery Ward and decades of his litigation efforts, together with the brilliance and creativity of tireless public leaders like Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead, and the fortuitous 1934 landmark creation of the Park District Consolidation Act to secure the world famous 26 mile long Chicago lakefront public park system extending from north to south, including the incomparable Jackson Park, the largest public park on the south side of Chicago, created in the aftermath to the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and designed by Olmsted & Vaux, known for also creating Central Park in New York.
But maintaining and keeping the lakefront public parks open, clear and free as they were dedicated to be has proven over the years to require a dedicated and endless watch as politicians and their cronies keep trying to find ways to appropriate and exploit that irreplaceable public land as if it were a grab bag of goodies just waiting to be seized to profitably benefit a private interest. And the latest incarnation of Chicago government and Chicago Public Park Commissioners have seemed to forget why they hold office and there is need to have those open, clear and free public parks as a little bit of easily available nature in an otherwise teeming city.
And when those who have taken a public oath to protect those public parks choose instead to violate their duty and become blinded to the miracle of finding fresh air and sunlight, spashing lake waves, green grass, trees, flowers, birds, butterflies, wild animals, casual picnics, and unregulated play by an addiction to building unnatural edificies in its place, as Hamlet put it “The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite, That ever I [Protect Our Parks] was born to set it right!”
And Protect Our Parks, with the help of all those who believe in these same values, has taken on the task of defeating and setting right the wrongful taking of Jackson Park.