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Lathrop Homes residents fight demolition

lathropCurrent and former residents of the Julia C. Lathrop Homes have started organizing to resist the planned demolition of their homes. According to a Chicago Tribune article,

in 2006, the Chicago Housing Authority announced that it would demolish Lathrop Homes and replace it with 1,200 condominiums and town homes. A third of the homes were to be affordable while the rest would sell at market rate.

While that hasn’t happened — yet — supporters of the last public housing complex on the city’s North Side say the complex, or at least some of the original buildings, should be preserved. And they’ve offered an alternative plan.

More than 550 people have joined a Facebook group called the Lathrop Homes Alumni of Chicago,  where members can share photos and stories from their time spent at Lathrop. Many of the pictures uploaded to the site date back to the 1950s. Lathrop Homes was one of Chicago’s first public housing developments, completed in 1938.

3 comments to Lathrop Homes residents fight demolition

  • Stanley King

    As a former manager of Lathrop Homes and knowing the soundness of these buildings as built; I would find it deeply troubling to lose a resource such as this complex. Apart from the historical significance of Lathrop for preservation, the wishes of the community must definitely be considered to have any viable undertaking.

  • Rich Guske

    My family moved into the Projects in 1937. We were one of the first families to move in. We lived there for 15 years. We had to move out because my father made the maximum annual salary per the regulations of the Projects. In my opinion, 1937 through 1952, was PARADISE for us and my friends. We had move property to play in than our friends in the Suburbs. It was a Norman Rockwell existence. Sunday softball games in the backyard with an ice cream man coming around; free movies on Friday night in the play area behind my apartment; rooms in the basements for group get togethers and birthday parties; and wash rooms and drying rooms for the mothers to wash and dry colothes. We lacked nothing. During the War, families had Victory Gardens where the softball and football and games were played. At the time, nothing compares. FIX IT!!!! Don’t tear it down!!

  • Betty Martin

    I believe my family moved into Lathrop Homes in 1939 and I was born in 1942. I agree with everything Rich Guske said in his message. Mr. Daly was our janitor and as far as I know, did a splendid job with our building. We had windows on both Diversey and the area behind where there were swings, and teeter totters and where we could hang out clothes during the warmer months. There was a “swap shop” run by a Mr. Russell (if my memory serves me correctly) and in the earlier years there was a little grocery store in the basement in one of the entrances on Hoyne (first one just south of Diversey). We also had to move because of income level. This Sunday I was at St. Bonaventure’s 100th Anniversay Celebration and drove around my “old neighborhood”. I stopped at my former apartment building (2759 N. Leavitt) and went it. It may have been public housing but I never hesitate to say where I was born and mostly raised. I wouldn’t hide my having lived there…it was a good life.

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