After the Lincoln Park Commissioners contracted with individual landowners for the building of Lake Shore Drive, on behalf of the people, the State challenged their right to do so. In People (the State Attorney General, M.T. Moloney) v. Kirk (Charles S. Kirk, the Lincoln Park Commissioner) the Illinois Supreme Court heard the case on appeal from Cook County's Circuit Court and affirmed that based on a legislative act of 1889 the commissioners had the right to construct the Drive the way that they did.

After the Lincoln Park Commissioners built the Lake Shore Drive on the lake's reclaimed land, property owners filled the adjoining submerged land and paid the commissioners $100 per lineal foot for their lake frontage.

Extract from People v. Kirk, 162 Ill., 138. Illinois Supreme Court, June 1896 (Read the entire case

This was an information brought by the attorney general against the commissioners of Lincoln Park and the owners of the land adjacent to the shore of Lake Michigan, between Ohio street and Oak street, in the city of Chicago, for the purpose of canceling certain contracts entered into between said park commissioners and said property owners for the extension of the Lake Shore drive from Oak street to Ohio street, entered into under an act of the legislature of the state of Illinois passed in the year 1889, and for the purpose of having removed the filling, breakwaters, and extension of the drive already made under said contracts. The contracts in question bear date the 22d day of June, 1891, and provide for the completion of the work called for by the contracts during the year 1893. At the date of the passage of the act of the legislature in question, in the year 1889, a drive had already been constructed by the park commissioners from the south line of Lincoln Park, at North avenue, to Oak street, over the bed of Lake Michigan, a short distance from the shore, and the shore owners had filled out and improved their property to the inner edge of said Lake Shore drive. In the manner, Lincoln Park had been enlarged by the extension of the Lake Shore drive north from North avenue, over the waters of Lake Michigan, and the filling in of the submerged lands lying between such drive and the original lake shore, excepting such portions thereof as were set apart for a basin to be used by boats.

Section 1 of the act provided: “That every board of park commissioners existing under the laws of this state, that now has, or may hereafter have, control over any driveway or boulevard connecting with any public park under the control of such park board, and bordering upon any public waters in this state, shall have power, subject to the limitations in this act contained, to extend such boulevard or driveway, of the width of not more than two hundred feet over and upon the bed of such public waters; provided, however, that no such boulevard or driveway shall be extended under the provisions of this act in such a manner as to interfere with the navigations of such public waters for the purpose of commerce, and that the lands adjacent to such public waters and  connected with the termini of such boulevard or driveway as extended under the provisions of this act, shall lie within the district or territory, the property of which shall be taxable for the maintenance of the parks under the control of such board.”

Section 2: “Whenever such board of park commissioners shall determine to extend any such boulevard or driveway under this act, said board shall prepare a plan of such proposed extension, and make an estimate of the cost thereof, and shall obtain the consent in writing of the owners of at lease two-thirds of the frontage of all lands not appropriated to or held for public use abutting on such public waters in front of which it is proposed to extend such boulevard or driveway for the making of such extension, and shall also obtain the consent of the supervisor and assessor, corporate authorities of the town or towns in which the lands abutting upon such public waters in front of such proposed extension may lie, to the making of such extension. The riparian or other rights of the owners of lands on the shore adjoining the waters in which it is proposed to construct such extension, the said board of park commissioners may acquire by contract with or deeds from any such owner; and in case of inability to agree with any such owner, proceedings may be had to condemn such rights according to the provisions of article 9 of an act entitled ‘An act to provide for the incorporation of cities and villages,’ approved April 10, 1872, and the amendments thereof,”

Section 3: “Upon complying with section 2 of this act, said board shall have power to contract in writing with any person or persons for the construction of such extension of such boulevard or driveway, according to such plan, and under the supervision of said board, and in all cases where any boulevard or driveway is extended under the provisions hereof, the submerged lands lying between the shore of such public waters and the inner line of the extension of such boulevard or driveway shall be appropriated by the board of park commissioners to the purpose of defraying the cost of such extension, and to that end such board of park commissioners are authorized to sell and convey such submerged lands in fee simple by deeds duly executed on its behalf by its president and under its corporate seal, and every deed executed on in pursuance hereof shall vest a good title in the grantee to the premises intended to be conveyed thereby.”

Section 4: “Upon completion of any such extension of such boulevard or driveway, the title thereto, and to the bed thereof, shall be vested in such board of park commissioners, for the purpose of a boulevard or driveway and shall become a part of the public park or parks under the control of such board, and shall thenceforth be maintained and controlled by such board in the manner provided by law for the government and maintenance of other boulevards and driveways under its control.” Under this act of the legislature, the board of commissioners of Lincoln Park located its boulevard or driveway over upon Lake Michigan in such a manner that 93 acres of submerged land lying between the shore and the western boundary of the driveway were reclaimed. This large tract of reclaimed land was, under the provisions of the act, sold by the board of commissioners to the shore owners, each shore owner obtaining that portion of the reclaimed land lying opposite the tract of land by him owned. In consideration of the sale of these lands, the shore owners agreed to construct the driveway in the lake, and fill in the submerged lands between the driveway and the shore, except the commissioners agreed to build so much of the driveway as should lie north of the center line of Oak street extended, and to have the same completed by the 1st day of May, 1893; also, to build the boulevard or driveway between the center line of Pearsons street and the center line of Chicago avenue. In addition to the work agreed to be done by the shore owners, they also agreed to pay the commissioners $100 per lineal foot of their respective frontages on Lake Michigan. The following plat, put in evidence on the trial, shows the location of the boulevard and the lands lying east of Pine street, made by its construction [see above]