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Opinion of the Court.
Mr. Benjamin F. Ayer for the Illinois Central Railroad Company, appellee.
Mr. John S. Miller for the City of Chicago, appellee.
MR. JUSTICE Field delivered the opinion of the court.
This is an appeal on the part of the United States from a decree of the Circuit Court sustaining a demurrer to an information or bill in equity, in which they were complainants and the Illinois Central and other railroad companies were defendants. The information charges that encroachments are made or threatened upon property of the United States, and the object of the information, so far as contended on the present appeal, is to prevent their continuance in the future, as to one particular parcel of property and to preserve it open to the uses for which it was dedicated by the United States. That property consists of land situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, being part of fractional section ten in Chicago, lying between Lake Michigan on the east and block twelve of the plat of Fort Dearborn addition to Chicago on the west.
The several parties named as defendants appeared to the information, and the Illinois Central Railroad Company and the Michigan Central Railroad Company demurred to it on the ground that it does not state such a case as entitles the United States to the relief prayed for, or show any right of interference on their part, either in law or in equity, respecting the matters referred to, or allege any violation, contemplated or threatened, of any right, legal or equitable, of the United States.
Upon the hearing of the several cases known and spoken of together as the Lake Front case, before the Circuit Court of the United States at Chicago on the 23d of February, 1888, this demurrer was argued, and was sustained, “except as to that part of the information which alleges, in substance, that the Illinois Central Railroad Company claims the absolute ownership of, and threatens to take possession of, use and occupy the outer harbor of Chicago," the opinion of the court
Opinion of the Court.
being “that the general government, upon the showing made by it, has no title to any of the streets or grounds described in said information, and has no standing in court, except so far as it seeks to protect the said harbor against obstructions that would impair the public right of navigation, or interfere with any plan devised by the United States for the development or improvement of the outer harbor.” 33 Fed. Rep. 730. Afterwards, on the 23d of August, 1890, the attorney of the United States was granted leave to amend the information by striking out whatever related to the outer harbor and the encroachments alleged to have been made, or threatened in the navigable waters of the lake; and, at the same time, an order was entered by the district judge sustaining the demurrer to the information as amended, and directing that it be dismissed, “ without prejudice to the United States, however, to hereafter institute any appropriate action or proceedings for the purpose of enforcing any rights they may have in the navigable waters of the lake or outer harbor of Chicago ;” and thereupon an appeal was prayed and allowed to the Supreme Court. .
From the decree of the Circuit Court in the Lake Front case, rendered in February, 1888, appeals were taken to the Supreme Court of the United States by the Illinois Central Railroad Company and the city of Chicago, and they were argued and decided at its October term, 1892. Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois, 146 U. S. 387. The United States did not appear and participate in the argument on the appeal. As they were never a party to those suits in the court below and never appealed from the decree, they were dropped as a party in the designation of the title of the case. The questions involving the title and right of the parties embraced in the cases, considered under the general designation of the Illinois Central Railroad Company v. State of Illinois, to the navigable waters of the harbor of Chicago and in the Lake Front property, and the encroachments on the harbor by the railroad company, and the validity of the act of April 16, 1869, granting submerged lands in the harbor, were fully considered and settled as between the State and the city of
Opinion of the Court.
Chicago, on the one part, and the Illinois Central Railroad Company on the other.
The appeal now before the court is the one taken by the United States from the decree of the Circuit Court rendered on the 23d of August, 1890, sustaining the dernurrer to the information, The amendment allowed to the information consisted in striking out that part to which the demurrer was not sustained, and was made in order that the demurrer might go to the entire information. The only contention now urged by the Solicitor General, on behalf of the appellants, is that the information is good to the extent that it seeks to restrain the appellees from diverting the public ground designated as such, on the plat of the Fort Dearborn addition to the city of Chicago from the supposed public casement to which it was dedicated. The Solicitor General states that on this branch of the case the information proceeds upon the theory that the United States, being the owners of the land in question, and having dedicated it to a public purpose, are entitled to enjoin its diversion from that public purpose to private uses. It will, therefore, be unnecessary for the disposition of the appeal to consider any other position originally taken by the United States in the information.
As early as 1804 a military post was established by the United States south of Chicago River, upon the southwest fractional quarter of section ten, and was subsequently occupied by troops until its sale many years afterwards. In 1819 Congress passed an act authorizing the sale by the Secretary of War, under the direction of the President, of such military sites belonging to the United States as may have been found or had become useless for military purposes.
And the Secretary of War was authorized, on the payment of the consideration agreed upon into the Treasury of the United States, to execute and deliver all needful instruments conveying the same in fee. And the act declared that the jurisdiction which had been specially ceded to the United States for military purposes, by a State, over such site or sites should thereafter cease. Act of March 3, 1819, c. 88, 3 Stat. 520. Subsequently, in 1824, upon the request of the Secretary of War, the south
Opinion of the Court.
west quarter of this fractional section ten, containing about fifty-seven acres, and on which Fort Dearborn was situated, was reserved from sale for military purposes by the Commissioner of the General Land Office. The land thus reserved continued to be used for military purposes until 1837. In that year, under the direction of the Secretary of War, it was laid off by his authority into blocks, lots, streets, alleys, and public ground, as an addition to the municipality of Chicago, and called the "Fort Dearborn addition to Chicago,” and in June, 1839, a plat thereof was made and acknowledged by his agent and attorney and recorded in the recorder's office of the county of Cook. On that plat a part of the ground situated between Lake Michigan on the east and block twelve on the west is designated as "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings.” [146 U. S. 392, Map A.] It bears also a further declaration in these words, viz. : “The public ground between Randolph and Madison Streets and fronting upon Lake Michigan is not to be occupied with buildings of any description.” Subsequently, and for some years, several lots designated and shown on the plat were reserved from sale and remained in the military occupation of the government, but eventually, in 1845, or soon afterwards, all of them were sold and conveyed by the United States to divers persons " by and according to said plat and with reference to the same."
The statute of Illinois of February 27, 1833, then in force for the making and recording of town plats, (Rev. Stat. of Ill. $ 833, p. 599,) provided that every donation or grant to the public, marked or noted as such on the plat, should be deemed in law a sufficient conveyance to vest the fee simple title, and that “the land intended to be for streets, alleys, ways, commons, or other public uses, in any town or city, or addition thereto, shall be held in the corporate name thereof in trust to and for the uses and purposes set forth and expressed or intended." The plat in such cases had all the force of an express grant and operated to convey all the title and interest of the United States in the property for the uses and purposes intended.
Zinc Company v. La Salle, 117 Illinois, 411, 414, 415; Chicago v. Rumsey, 87 Illinois, 348; Gebhardt v.
Opinion of the Court.
Reeves, 75 Illinois, 301 ; Canal Trustees v. Havens, 11 Illinois, 554.
It is stated in the information that the United States never parted with the title to the streets, alleys, and public grounds designated and marked on the plat, and that they still own the same in fee simple" with the rights and privileges, riparian and otherwise, pertaining to such ownership, subject to the use and enjoyment of the same by the public."
But we do not think this position is tenable. A title to some of the streets may have continued in the government so long as the title to any of the adjoining lots remained with it, but not afterwards without disregard of the statutory regulations of the State and its provisions for the transfer of the title. When a resort is made by individuals or the government to the mode provided by the statute of a State where real property is situated, for the transfer of its title, the effect and conditions prescribed by the statute will apply, and such operation given to the instrument of conveyance as is there designated. The language of the statute is clear, " that the land intended for streets, alleys, ways, commons, or other public uses in any town or city or addition thereto shall be held in the corporate name thereof, in trust to and for the uses and purposes set forth and expressed or intended.”
The interest in and control of the United States over the streets, alleys, and commons ceased with the record of the plat and the sale of the adjoining lots. Their proprietary interest passed, in the lots sold, to the respective vendees, subject to the jurisdiction of the local government, and the control over the streets, alleys, and grounds passed by express designation of the state law to the corporate authorities of
In 1854, the validity of the survey and plat made of Fort Dearborn reservation was recognized by Congress in an act for the relief of one John Baptiste Beaubien, Act of August 11, 1854, c. 172, 10 Stat. 805, by which the Commissioner of the General Land Office was authorized to issue a patent or patents to Beaubien for certain lots designated and numbered on the survey and plat of the Fort Dearborn addition to Chicago,