CHICAGO – The Julia C. Lathrop Homes, bounded by Clyburn and North Damen Avenues, North Leavitt Street and Chicago Road, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. Its inclusion in this prestigious national list was announced today by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which administers the National Register program in Illinois.
The Julia C. Lathrop Homes is one of the largest and most architecturally elaborate of the 52 initial public housing projects in the United States constructed as part of the New Deal in the 1930s. The federal government sought to create public housing with well-equipped units that had access to well-designed exterior spaces. This dedication to beautiful and useful indoor and outdoor spaces as used in the Lathrop Homes came to dominate affordable housing construction until after World War 2.
Famed landscape architect Jens Jensen created small parks and kitchen gardens within the dense Lathrop Homes neighborhoods, providing poor Chicagoans with open space and the chance to plant and tend their own gardens.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Thousands of Illinois historic and prehistoric places have been designated and each year more places are added by applicants who want the prestige, financial benefits, and protections that National Register designation provides. Every one of the 102 Illinois counties has at least one property or historic district listed in the National Register. High-style mansions, vernacular houses, burial mounds, military aircraft, canals, and historic downtowns together represent a cross section of the Prairie State’s history from its early settlement to the mid-20th century. In general, properties have to be more than 50 years old to be eligible. Listing on the National Register places no obligations on private property owners but does make properties eligible for some financial incentives. For more information on the National Register application process, visit http://www.illinoishistory.gov/PS/applynr.htm.
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