History Page 2

"Establish a Park on the Illinois Shore" continued

"It is a peculiarity of river towns that they despise the river which made them  My own town of Albuqueruqe, New Mexico, is a case in point.  The Rio Grande was considered disgracefully muddy.  Its banks were shunned as the natural rendezvous of tramps and mosquitoes, and no place for respectable citizens.  Only recently did Albuquerque realize that if the river bank was littered with saloons and tin cans, it was because Albuquerqueans had put them there; the mosquitoes were quite curable; that the muddy Rio Grande reflected the sunset quite as well as the clearest Alpine lake; that crystal streams were to be found only in povety-stricken lands; and while some people could not be happy with less than perfection, that nevertheless, to a majority of plain folks, water was water, and the Rio Grande (was) just what it was called -- the Great River! the people went there--why not give them a decent place to go?"

"Burlington, I believe, passed the stage of despising its river ten years ago.  It is the more to be wondered, therefore, that she has not seized this opportunity for establishing a River park."

The automobilist has Des Moines county for his park, and is not vitally concerned in this matter.  But the most of us are still Fordless.  Where shall the Fordless citizen betake himself and his family of a summer evening for a river picnic?"

"Across the bridge of course.  As long as "across the bridge" remains clean woods and cornfield, well and good.  But let no man deceive himself--it will not long remain so.  Things unlovely and of bad repute will soon be there, and even now they are cutting cordwood within a hundred yards of the bridgehead."

"It goes without saying that it is not only unnecessary but highly undesirable to make this an expensive or elaborate park.  Clean woods and waters are needed--and these are already there.  To go inland would be unnecessary--the river bank is where the park value lies, and where all other values cease."

"Burlington has spent $200,000 on a new gate to the city  Is it good policy to begrudge a few thousands more to keep rubbish out of the gateway?"