Urban Parks: John Murray Forbes Park

May 6, 2009 13 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

John Murray Forbest Park is a three block secluded riverfront promenade, tucked away behind Riverside's St. Vincent's Medical Center.

John Murray Forbes was a Boston Investor, who in 1868, purchased 500 acres known as "Dell's Bluff" and platted this land as a suburban neighborhood named Riverside.

John Murray Forbes was an American railroad magnate, merchant, philanthropist and abolitionist. He was president of both the Michigan Central railroad and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in the 1850s.

Forbes was an important figure in the building of America's railroad system. From March 28, 1846 through 1855, he was president of Michigan Central Railroad, and he was a director and president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, he helped with the growth of the American Middle West.
 He supplied money and weapons to New Englanders to fight slavery in Kansas and in 1859 entertained John Brown. In 1860 he was an elector for Abraham Lincoln. Staunchly pro-Union, he is given credit for founding the New England Loyal Publication Society in early 1863. A delegate to the Republican conventions of 1876, 1880 and 1884, he eventually became displeased with the Republican party and worked successfully to get Democrat Grover Cleveland elected President.

"My next best operation as it now looks was the purchase just after the war of five hundred acres of land just south of and adjoining Jacksonville, then known as Yellow Bluff, and now called Riverside."

Reminiscences of John Murray Forbes  By John Murray Forbes,  Sarah Forbes Hughes

Images by Ennis Davis