Julia C. Lathrop Homes

Coordinates: 41°55′56″N 87°40′47″W / 41.9322°N 87.6797°W / 41.9322; -87.6797
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Julia C. Lathrop Homes
2012 photograph of the Lathrop Homes housing project facing North Clybourn Avenue.
General information
LocationBordered by North Clybourn Ave, North Damen Ave, North Leavitt St. & The Chicago River
Chicago, Illinois,
 United States
Coordinates41°55′56″N 87°40′47″W / 41.9322°N 87.6797°W / 41.9322; -87.6797
StatusUnder Renovation
Other information
Chicago Housing Authority
Julia C. Lathrop Homes
LocationBounded by N. Clybourn Ave., N. Damen Ave., N. Leavitt St. & the Chicago River
Chicago, Illinois
NRHP reference No.12000025
Added to NRHPFebruary 21, 2012[1]

Julia C. Lathrop Homes is a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) public housing project located along the line between the Lincoln Park and North Center neighborhoods on the north side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is bordered by the neighborhoods of Bucktown and Roscoe Village. Completed in 1938 by the Public Works Administration, Lathrop Homes was one of the first Chicago public housing projects. Lathrop Homes was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 and is currently undergoing restoration. Lathrop Homes consists of two-story brick row houses and three- and four-story apartment buildings separated by landscaped courtyards and linked by small archways in a campus-like arrangement.[2] There are a total of 925 units on 35.5 acres of land (approximately three and a half square blocks).[3]


Named for social reformer Julia Clifford Lathrop, Lathrop Homes was one of the city's first public housing projects. The homes were built by the Public Works Administration in 1938 and initially leased to the Chicago Housing Authority.[2][4] The buildings were designed in a Prairie School, Arts and Crafts style with details in a range of styles from Art Moderne to Colonial Revival.[2][3][5] The designers were a "dream team" led by Robert S. De Golyer and also including Hugh M.G. Garden, Thomas E. Tallmadge, Vernon Watson, E.E. Roberts, Charles White and Hubert Burnham, with landscaping by Jens Jensen.[3][5][6] In 1959, the authority added an 8-story building to house seniors to the south side of the project.[7]

In keeping with the federal neighborhood segregation policy of the time, the development was intended for whites only.[4] As the development matured, it became racially integrated,[3][8] and has been called "the city's most diverse public housing neighborhood".[9]

Crime and gangs[edit]

In recent decades, the Julia C. Lathrop homes have been subject to many of the same problems of increasing crime as other housing projects in Chicago, including narcotics trafficking and gang activity. The housing project was dominated by the Latin Kings street gang.[10][11][12]

Proposed redevelopment[edit]

In July 2006, the Chicago Housing Authority announced its intention to demolish the Lathrop Homes and redevelop the site.[3][6] Residents and preservationists protested and Landmarks Illinois developed a plan to renovate the complex as affordable "green" housing.[2][8][13][14][15][16][17][18] In early 2011, the authority cleared residents from the north end of the development;[19][20] in November 2011, it awarded the redevelopment contract for the site to a team with experience in architectural preservation and sustainability.[5] In October 2012, the Chicago Housing Authority approved the demolition of 1800 units including some from Lathrop Homes; however, how many of those demolitions relate to Lathrop Homes and when demolition would begin was not announced.[21]

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

In 1994, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the National Park Service determined the Julia C. Lathrop Homes to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.[2] In December 2010, the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council advised that it be listed.[7] It was listed on the National Register February 21, 2012.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 3/19/12 through 3/23/12". National Park Service. March 30, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lathrop Homes: RFQ Released Archived 2013-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, Featured Advocacy Efforts, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.
  3. ^ a b c d e Julia C. Lathrop Homes, Chicago's Seven Most Threatened Buildings 2007, Preservation Chicago (pdf)
  4. ^ a b Harvey M. Choldin, "Chicago Housing Authority," Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago, Chicago Historical Society, 2005.
  5. ^ a b c Alan G. Brake, "Eyes on the Project: Top tier team to rethink, not raze, PWA housing gem," Architects Newspaper, February 19, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Lathrop Homes Archived 2012-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, Chicagoland Watch List, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Ian Fullerton, "Historic tag for Lathrop? State agency recommends housing complex for national landmark status" Archived 2010-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, Skyline December 15, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Megan Cottrell, "Residents, public housing officials at odds over mixed-income development plan," Chi-Town Daily News, October 24, 2008.
  9. ^ 300 Empty Units? Open them UP! Lathrop Homes residents are Ready With a Vision, Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
  10. ^ Eye-Opening Seminar Exposes North Side Gangbanging Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Chicago Tribune, "Problems don't disappear when homeless housed," The Telegraph-Herald, November 7, 1992, p. 11.
  12. ^ Steven J. Stark, "21 Accused of Running Drugs at CHA Complex Gang Allegedly Dominated Lathrop Homes," Chicago Tribune, July 25, 1997.
  13. ^ Judy Keen, "Stake claimed on Chicago housing project," USA Today, December 2, 2009.
  14. ^ Janeen Wynn, "Save our public housing, says tenants: Lathrop Homes residents ask city to rehab, not demolish their complex," Austin Weekly News, December 9, 2009.
  15. ^ Dennis Rodkin, "Debating the Future of Lathrop Homes,", Chicago magazine, April 21, 2010.
  16. ^ Daarel Burnette II, Associated Press, "Lathrop Homes residents fight demolition," Southern Illinoisan, October 25, 2009.
  17. ^ Tracie Rozhon, "New Deal Architecture Faces Bulldozer," The New York Times, February 8, 2009: "In Chicago, architectural historians have joined with residents of Lathrop Homes—riverfront rows of historic brick public housing—to try to persuade the Chicago Housing Authority not to raze the complex."
  18. ^ "CHA hopes to turn development into 'green' community," WLS-TV, January 8, 2010.
  19. ^ Creating a Ghost Town—Lathrop Homes, Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
  20. ^ Tanveer Ali, "Uneasy Residents Await Changes at Lathrop Homes," Archived 2012-03-24 at the Wayback Machine Chicago News Cooperative, August 23, 2011.
  21. ^ "CHA approves demolition plan" WBEZ, October 16, 2012.