ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827–1911
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DONATION OF CANAL LOTS TO THE CITY OF CHICAGO FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES
February 20, 1849
The General Assembly had enacted a law in 1839 which donated canal lots to towns laid out adjacent to the line of the canal. Each of these towns was to receive up to four lots to support public education. The canal trustees were planning to auction all remaining canal town lots on May 10, 1849. Before this sale took place it was necessary for the trustees to fulfill their legislated obligation to donate certain lots for various purposes. Joseph B. Wells, a former lieutenant governor, had been appointed by Governor Augustus French to replace state trustee Charles Oakley who had died on January 1, 1849.
Lot 5, block 4 is located at the southeast corner of Kinzie and Wells Streets. A ground level parking lot is located there today. Lot 9, block 50 is located at the northeast corner of Madison and Clinton Streets. The Citicorp Center now stands there. Lot 6, block 55 is located on Madison Street, east of Wells Street. Parts of the 2 North La Salle Building and a Self Park garage now are situated there. Lot 6, block 58 is located on Madison Street, east of Dearborn Street. The One North Dearborn Building currently occupies this site.
To locate Chicago lots and blocks, see Exhibit B.
Points to Consider
What was Joseph B. Wells doing in this document?
Locate lot 5, block 4 and lot 9, block 50 in the Original Town of Chicago. Which structures are located there today?
Locate lot 6, block 55 and lot 6, block 58 in the Original Town of Chicago. Which structures are located there today?
Why had the General Assembly enacted legislation requiring the canal commissioners to donate valuable canal lots to the city of Chicago to be used to support schools?