200,000 ASK BOARD TO
CONVERT LEVEE INTO 10 ACRE PARK.
Taxpayers Pledge Support to Twenty-second District Transformation.
FIX BOUNDARIES FOR AREA
Promise to Help Women Who Wish to Return to Right Way of Living.
M’Weeny Closes West Side Dives.
Antagonists against vice in Chicago unexpectedly received aid yesterday from two quarters.
Assistance came from the new chief of police, who ordered all disorderly houses of west side car lines to close their doors and immediately to send their inmates away.
From the other direction cam well known citizens, saying that the represented 200,000 of Chicago’s population. They have presented petitions, it was learned, to the south park board, asking that the levee districts on the south side be wiped out, and that a park be established where now prevail tawdry palaces of immorality.
The park board entertained the citizen delegation at its latest meeting. The delegation was headed by Prof. Graham Taylor, Chief Justice Harry Olson of the Municipal court and Mrs. Alice E. Bates, a social worker. Their arguments were backed by numerous petitions.
In Heart of South Side Levee
The tract which it is proposed to embrace in the park is the heart of the present south side levee. The eastern boundary, it is suggested, would be the alley between State and Dearborn streets, with Clark street on the west, half a block from the Rock Island tracks. Archer avenue would be the northern frontier and Twenty-second street the southern boundary.
Taken generally, little else than saloon and disreputable houses and blocks would be affected, although a few manufacturing establishments are with the zone to be cleared, which is about ten acres in extent.
Make Five Demands
The demands, summarized, were five in number, as follows:
1. — That a park is needed in the Twenty-second street section and that the special park commission has support the abolition plan.
2. — That a park in that general region, with the levee sill in existence, would only increase the menace to morality, as poor persons would not wish to use the park, and little children would not be permitted within its gates.
3. — That the park, as planned, would eliminate the present vice district, that the objectionable resorts on the adjacent State street would die for want of support and the hangers-on of the southern outskirts would soon disappear for the same reasons.
4. — That such a park would be the logical step following the report of the vice commission, and such an investment would receive the support of the public and taxpayers.
5. — That promoters of the plan are prepared to care for all women thus made homeless who will attempt to return to the right way of living.
Petitions Amaze Board.
The petitions, which amazed the board members by their quantity and quality, were from many leading churches, family hotels, and residents of the south side. Since that time the board has received numerous letters from individuals as well as addition petitions, and more are expected a the next meeting on May 24.
There appeared to be no doubt in minds of the petitioners that condemnation of vice district property and substitution of a public park would solve the question. Segregation, they argued, did not segregate in actuality, so abolition was a necessity.
Members of the board asked if the petitioners did not fear that extinction of the Twenty-second street district would simply move the disreputable element farther south, similar to the hegira of the old Dearborn and Clark street and Custom House place habitués, but they thought not.
The board decided that the matter would be given careful consideration, and the visitors were told that an examination of real estate conditions of the district would be made to ascertain the feasibility of the purchase.
Police Order First of Series
Chief of Police McWeeny’s order is believed to be preliminary to a plan for a city wide system of segregation.
The order affects all places on West Lake, West Randolph, West Madison, West Monroe, North Sangamon, and North Morgan streets. It directs that all women except the proprietor and one other shall leave the places immediately and that even these two must go after June 1.
Inspector O’Brien summoned all detectives at Desplaines street station and gave them plainly to understand that the order was not a bluff, but that the chief meant just what he said.
"Don’t Monkey with Buzzsaw"
"You will be held responsible for carrying out this order," said the inspector. "There must be no delay and no quibbling. The chief means just what he says. Officers who take it into their heads to neglect to obey promptly the chief’s directions will find themselves up before the police trial board. Don’t money with the buzzsaw."
Forty-five men who, the police say, are supported by women in the resorts in the west side levee district were taken into custody by police of the Desplaines street station last night. They will be charged with vagrancy this morning.