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Introduction. Much the most important and most complex array of local governments in Illinois is that in Chicago and Cook County; and it has been said that probably no other community in the world presents a more confusing complexity. Within the City of Chicago there are no less than 38 distinct local governments, most of them independent of one another. Outside of the city and within the larger area of the Sanitary District of Chicago there are 162 other local governments. Beyond the Sanitary District there are 192 additional local governments within Cook County. Upon the map which faces this page will be found an outline of the local areas which are most important from the standpoint of the problem of consolidation. This map is printed here through the courtesy of the Chicago Bureau of Public Efficiency. In the aggregate there are 392 separate agencies of local government in Cook County, as shown in the table below:

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a-Cook County and the Forest Preserve District, which are co-extensive, extend beyond the limits of Chicago, although not shown in columns two, three, and four, The area of Chicago is 200 square miles; of the Sanitary District, 390 square miles; and of Cook County, 993 square miles. b-Includes part of Elgin, which is largely in Kane County.

Eight wholly within, and 6 partly within Chicago. (Three of the latter are partly outside the Sanitary District). d-Includes 6 partly outside the Sanitary District.

-Does not include 9 partly within the Sanitary District. 4-Does not include 6 partly within Chicago.

9-Includes 5 partly outside the Sanitary District, and Cicero, which is also counted as a town.


Includes Cicero, which is also counted as a town, and 3 partly outside Cook County.

-Includes 2 partly outside Chicago.
k Does not include 2 partly in Chicago.
1-Includes 2, (Elgin and Hinsdale) partly outside Cook County.
m-Includes 19 partly outside the Sanitary District.
1-Does not include 19 partly within the Sanitary District.

0-Includes 4 and the non-high school dist ict, which are partly outside the Sanitary District

p-Does not include 4 and the non-high school district, which are partly within the Sanitary District.

-Cicero, included both as a town and a village, is counted only once in the totals.

hDoes not include 5 partly within the Sanitary District; includes 3 partly outside Cook County.

This table shows the number of distinct governing and taxing authorities, each composed of a varying number of officials and supervising a larger number of subordinate officials and employees.

Before examining more closely this aggregate of existing local agencies, it may be well to note briefly some of the principal steps in their development.

Cook County, the oldest of the local government agencies, was established in 1831. It included at that time, not only the present area of the county, but also the territory of Lake and Du Page Counties, the northern half of Will County, and a small portion of what is now in McHenry County. In 1836 Will and McHenry counties were organized, the latter including the present area of Lake County; and in 1839 Du Page County was organized; and Cook County was reduced to the present limits.

The town of Chicago was incorporated in 1833 and four years later it received its first city charter with enlarged limits. The area of the city has been enlarged from time to time by annexations, at first of territory not previously incorporated, but since 1889 largely by the absorption of neighboring villages, several townships and the city of Lake View,

The school laws of 1841 and 1845 had provided for the formation of school districts in the townships outside of the city. In 1849, Cook County voted, with other northern counties, to adopt the new system of township organization. The townships were superimposed on the former governments, the city of Chicago falling within three townships. Several new townships have been organized within those first established.

While Blue Island had been incorporated in 1813 and Evanston in 1857, there was little tendency to establish other incorporated municipalities until the decade before 1870. But by the latter year, ten additional suburban municipalities had been organized, including the towns of Lake View, Hyde Park and Jefferson, and the villages of Glencoe and Winnetka. After 1870 the formation of villages proceeded more rapidly: 10 more were organized before 1880, and 10 others before 1890. Since the latter date, the process has been still more rapid. 26 villages were established from 1890 to 1899, 14 in the following decade, and 15 since 1910. A number of other villages appear to have existed for which no record is available. Altogether there has been about 90 incorporated towns, villages and cities established within Cook County.

The number of cities and villages in the county has been somewhat reduced by annexations to the city of Chicago. The most important case was in 1889 when the city of Lake View, the village of Hyde Park, and the towns of Jefferson and Lake were annexed, more than trebling the area of the city. In addition about 10 villages have been annexed from time to time, besides other territory.

But this has been counterbalanced by the creation of other local agencies. Before 1870 three park districts were established, covering the city of Chicago and neighboring territory; and these separate park districts have continued since the territory has been added to the city. Numerous other smaller park districts have been established more recently, under the general park laws, 14 within the city of Chicago, and 11 in the county outside of the city.

Another agency of a different type is the Sanitary District of Chicago organized in 1890 for the construction of the sanitary and ship canal, and including the city of Chicago and other territory in Cook County. The area of this district has been extended from time to time; and is now approximately 390 square miles, or nearly twice the area of the City of Chicago and over two-fifths of the total area of Cook County.

In addition to the Chicago board of education and library board, additional school districts, high school districts, library boards and local drainage districts have been formed outside of the city. Both city and county are also divided into legislative and congressional districts; and for convenience in elections, into 2,466 election precincts. The city has also 35 wards for the election of aldermen.

Cook county. The territory now forming Cook County was included in or attached to earlier counties in the Northwest Territory and in Indiana and Illinois.1

In the official records of these counties, the earliest mention of matters relating to the present area of Cook County is in the Fulton County records for 1823. Orders of the county board are noted relating to taxes and to commissioning a justice of the peace at Chicago.

Section 8 of the act of 1825 creating Peoria County provides that all the territory north of that county and of the Illinois and Kankakee rivers shall be attached to Peoria County. Another act of the same date (January 13, 1825) defines the boundaries of several counties, and includes in Putnam County the area just noted; but there were no provisions for organizing the county government.

The records of Peoria county show the formation of a Chicago election precinct in 1826, and contain data relating to elections, taxes, marriage licenses and (in 1829) a tavern license at Chicago.?

1 Knox County, Northwest Territory, 1790-1801; St. Clair County, Indiana Territory, 1801-1809; St. Clair County, Illinois Territory. 1809-1812; Madison County, Illinois Territory, 1812-1814; Edwards County, Illinois Territory, 18141816; Crawford County, Illinois Territory, 1816-1819; Clark County, State of Illinois, 1819-1821; Pike County, State of Illinois, 1821-1823; Fulton County, State of Illinois, 1823-1825; Peoria County, State of Illinois. 1825-1831. The southern part of what is now Cook County was attached to Edgar County from 1823-1825. Counties of Illinois (1906).

: F. O. Bennett: Politics and Politicians of Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

Cook County was erected by act of January 15, 1831; and the first county officers were elected in March of that year. Within the limits as established since 1839 it has an area of 993 square miles. Only five other counties in Illinois have an area as large; while the average area of Illinois counties is about 540 square miles. The population of Cook County in 1910 was 2,405,233, about 40 per cent of the population of the state; and of this about 90 per cent was in the City of Chicago. The proportion of the county population in the city has declined to some extent in recent years, from 92.3 per cent in 1890 to 90.9 per cent in 1910. The assessed valuation of the city in 1918 was 92.5 per cent of the total assessed valuation of the county.

County officers. Under the first state constitution county affairs in Cook County, as in the other counties in the state, were managed by a board of three county commissioners, elected at large. The only other elective county officers were the sheriff and coroner. The county clerk and the treasurer (who acted as assessor) were appointed by the county commissioners; and the county recorder and circuit attorney were appointed by the Governor and Senate. Justices of the peace were elected by districts; and road supervisors and school trustees were appointed by the county commissioners. In 1837 the term of county commissioners was fixed at three years, and county treasurers and probate justices were made elective; and in 1845 county recorders and surveyors were made elective.

The constitution of 1848 continued the election of sheriff, and provided also for the election of county judges, state or county attorneys, court clerks and justices of the peace, and authorized an optional system of township government.

After the adoption of the second state constitution, Cook County, in 1819, like other northern counties, voted to establish the township system, with a board of supervisors elected by towns as the county board. As the towns were laid out, the city of Chicago was partly in the three towns of North Chicago, South Chicago and West Chicago, and the Cook County board of supervisors at first consisted of 39 members, 15 elected by the towns in Chicago and 24 by the other towns in the county. Some years later. the Chicago members of the board were made elective by wards. By 1870 the county board consisted of 51 members, 20 from the city of Chicago and the remainder from the other towns in the county. By this time Chicago had about seven-eighths of the population and assessed valuation of the county; and the underrepresentation of the city in the county board led to maneuvers for political advantage, notably in the legislation of the 60's transferring the police from the city to the county.

In the constitutional convention of 1869-70 a provision was adopted (Section 7 of Article X) for a board of county commis

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