Chicago Gang History

Chicago Housing Authority

The Projects

Prostitution, gangs and drugs in the Chicago Housing Projects. Relive the Life and Death of The Projects and read the history of affordable housing in Chicago.

Demolished

Housing projects that didn't make it.

Cabrini Green

LocationClybourn Avenue on the north, Chicago Avenue on the south, Orleans Street on the east, Halsted Street on the west....
NeighborhoodNear North Side
Constructed1942-1945 Row houses, 1955-1957 1st extensions, 1957-1962 William Green high rises
Demolished1995-2011, low rises being renovated

 

Cabrini Green is indeed the most notorious project complex in Chicago history because of its bad reputation and its location in the city.  These projects sat among a high class neighborhood since they were built not too far away...

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Clarence Darrow Homes

Location38th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, Evans Avenue on the east, Langley Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodOakland
Constructed1961
Demolished1996-2000

 

These projects were named after Clarence Darrow who was a lawyer who represented labor leader Eugene V. Debs during the Pullman Car Factory strike.  These projects were built as four 14 story high rise buildings that had 480...

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Grace Abbott Homes

LocationRoosevelt Road on the north, 15th Street on the south, Loomis Avenue on the east, Ashland Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodNear West Side/University Village
Constructed1952-1955
Demolished2001-2007

 

The Grace Abbott Homes were the fourth installation within the notorious “ABLA” housing project area on Chicago’s Near West Side.  This project was a rather large development with 1,218 units within 33 two story row houses, and also...

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Harold Ickes Homes

LocationCermak Road on the north, 25th Street on the south, State Street on the east, Federal Street on the west....
NeighborhoodNear South Side
Constructed1954-1955
Demolished2009-2010

 

These projects were built between 1954 and 1955 over the very oldest section of the “Black Belt” between Cermak Road to 25th Street on State Street.  These projects were designed to be African American only projects and were...

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Henry Horner Homes

LocationLake Street on the north, Washington Boulevard to Adams Street on the south, Hermitage Avenue on the east, Oakley Boulevard...
NeighborhoodNear West Side
Constructed1957-1969
Demolished1996-2010

 

The Henry Horner projects were named after the first Jewish governor of Illinois Henry Horner that served from 1933 to 1940, he died in office in 1940.  Construction began on these projects that contained seven, 7 story tall buildings...

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Ida B. Wells Homes

Location37th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, Cottage Grove Avenue on the east, Martin Luther King Drive...
NeighborhoodDouglas – 37th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, Vincennes Road on the east, Martin Luther King Drive on the west. Oakland – 37th Street on the north, Pershing Road; On the south, Cottage Grove Avenue on the east, Vincennes Road on the west
Constructed1939-1941
Demolished2000-2011

 

In the late 1930s African Americans were in desperate need of affordable housing and when public housing was first offered to impoverished Chicagoans it was only offered to Russian – Jews, Italians, Serbian and Croatian residents, but African...

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Jane Addams Homes

LocationCabrini Street/Ada Street on the north, Roosevelt Road on the south, Racine Avenue on the east, Loomis Street on the...
NeighborhoodNear West Side/Little Italy
Constructed1938-1939
Demolished2002

 

The Jane Addams Homes were one of the first Chicago Housing Authority projects to be built in the late 1930s when the city decided to provide housing for the city’s poor, this was also the first project built...

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Lake Park Properties

Also known asOlander Homes and Washington Park Homes
LocationOakwood Boulevard on the north, 42nd Place on the south, Lake Shore Drive on the east, Lake Park Avenue on...
NeighborhoodOakland
Constructed1952-1963
Demolished1991 except 3983 S. Lake Park Avenue

 

Construction began in 1952 at 3983 S. Lake Park Avenue to build a large 15 story high rise with 150 units for public housing that was completed in 1953.  The project was named after Victor A. Olander who was...

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Leclaire Courts

Location43rd Street on the north, 45th Street on the south, Cicero Avenue on the east, Lavergne Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodGarfield Ridge
Constructed1949-1950, 1953-1954
Demolished2009-2011

 

The Leclaire Courts were the most unique public housing projects in Chicago history because these were the first projects that were built on the outer edge of the city and also within an all-white neighborhood with a fairly higher...

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Madden Park Homes

Location37th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, Lake Park Avenue on the east, Ellis Avenue on the...
NeighborhoodOakland
Constructed1969-1970
Demolished1999-2005

 

The Madden Park Homes were the last public housing project to be completed in Chicago as they were complete in the year 1970.  Although public housing projects were forbidden from being built starting in 1969 the Madden Park project...

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Maplewood Courts

LocationJackson Boulevard on the north, Van Buren Street on the south, Maplewood Avenue on the east, railroad tracks on the...
NeighborhoodNear West Side
Constructed1961
Demolished2014

 

This project complex was one of CHA’s later developments that were built as two 7 story mid-rise towers in the year 1961.  These were basically an extension of the Rockwell Gardens; however, they were a complex of...

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Ogden Courts

Location13th Place on the north, Ogden Avenue on the south, Talman Avenue on the east, Fairfield Avenue on the west,...
NeighborhoodNorth Lawndale
Constructed1953-1954
Demolished2005

 

The Ogden Courts public housing project was the only project built in the North Lawndale neighborhood.  In the year 1953 it was noticed that North Lawndale had a very large and growing African American population; therefore, public...

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Prairie Courts

Location26th Street on the north, 29th Street on the south, Martin Luther King Drive on the east, Prairie Avenue on...
NeighborhoodDouglas
Constructed1950-1952
DemolishedVacated 1998, torn down 2000-2001

 

These public housing projects began construction in 1950 in the Douglas neighborhood in the heart of Bronzeville.  The projects were designed by William Keck as he was the first to create the public housing design of the...

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Robert Brooks Homes

Locationow rises Roosevelt Avenue on the north, 14th Street on the south, Racine Avenue on the east, Loomis Street on...
NeighborhoodNear West Side/Little Italy
Constructed1942-1943, extensions/high rises 1960-1961
Demolished1998-2001, some renovation

 

The Robert Brooks Homes was the second buildup within the “ABLA” housing projects complex in the Near West Side neighborhood.  After the Jane Addams Homes were built in 1938 there were many impoverished African Americans that were...

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Robert Taylor Homes

LocationPershing Road on the north, 54th Street on the south, State Street on the east, Federal Street on the west...
NeighborhoodDouglas, Washington Park
Constructed1959-1962
Demolished1998-2006

 

In the year 1959 there were big plans to build to largest public housing project in the world right here in Chicago.  These projects would stretch 2 miles in length cutting all the way through the Grand Boulevard...

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Rockwell Gardens

LocationMadison Street on the north, Van Buren Street on the south, Western Avenue on the east, Rockwell Street on the...
NeighborhoodNear West Side
Constructed1958–1959
Demolished2003-2006

 

The Rockwell Gardens housing project began construction in the year 1958 among several other projects in the Near West Side community like the ABLA projects and the Henry Horner Homes.  These projects contained eight buildings that were...

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Stateway Gardens

Location35th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, State Street on the east, Federal Street on the west....
NeighborhoodDouglas
Constructed1955-1958
Demolished2000-2007

 

A quick note to the reader:  This is the set of projects that could be seen directly across the Dan Ryan Expressway from the White Sox ball park, you were not seeing the Robert Taylor Homes you...

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Others

Projects still standing, rehabbed or insufficient data.

Altgeld Gardens and Phillip Murray Homes

Location130th Street on the north, 134th Street on the south, Doty Avenue on the east, Langley Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodRiverdale
Constructed1944-1945
DemolishedN/A

 

The Altgeld Gardens projects began construction in the barren Riverdale neighborhood in the year 1944 as the city was getting prepared to house newly arrived World War II African American veterans.  The Riverdale neighborhood was ideal because most...

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Bridgeport Homes

Location31st Street on the north, 32nd Street on the south, Halsted Street on the east, Lituanica Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodBridgeport
Constructed1943-1944
DemolishedN/A

 

These projects began construction in the year 1943 and were completed in 1944.  These 2 story row houses have 141 units and were originally designed to assist the all-white Italian, Lithuanian, Irish and Polish community with affordable...

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Dearborn Homes

Location27th Street on the north, 30th Street on the south, State Street on the east, Federal Street on the west...
NeighborhoodDouglas
Constructed1949-1950
DemolishedN/A

 

By 1949 Chicago was facing an even more severe housing crisis for the African American community than ever, even though restrictive covenants were now deemed unconstitutional and African Americans were free to live in any community, many of the...

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Harrison Courts

LocationCongress Parkway on the north, Harrison Street on the south, Francisco Avenue on the east, Sacramento Boulevard on the west....
NeighborhoodEast Garfield Park
Constructed1958
DemolishedN/A

 

The Harrison Courts project complex was built in the year 1958 as a response to the growing African American population in the East Garfield Park neighborhood and the many more impoverished African Americans that were soon to migrate...

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Julia C. Lathrop Homes

LocationClybourn Avenue and Wellington Avenue to Oakdale Avenue on the north,  Damen Ave and the Chicago River on the south,...
NeighborhoodNorth Center, Lincoln Park (only at Damen Avenue and Clybourn Avenue intersection)
Constructed1937
DemolishedN/A

 

The Julia C. Lathrop homes are the first project in the city of Chicago.  The projects were named after Julia C. Lathrop who was a social reformer who was the United States Children’s Bureau director from 1912 to 1922. ...

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Lawndale Gardens Homes

Location25th Street on the north, 26th Street on the south, Washtenaw Avenue on the east, California Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodSouth Lawndale (Little Village)
Constructed1942
DemolishedN/A

 

These projects were constructed in the year 1942 and complete in December of that year.  These projects were built in the all-white Little Village neighborhood to house impoverished white families in an experiment that the CHA launched...

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Loomis Courts

Location14th Street on the north, 15th Street on the south, Racine Avenue on the east, Loomis Street on the west...
NeighborhoodNear West Side/University Village
Constructed1950-1952
DemolishedN/A

 

The Loomis Courts housing project was the third set of projects built within the “ABLA” housing projects cluster that was built between 1938 and 1961.  Construction of the Loomis Courts began in October of 1950 as the second project...

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Lowden Homes

Location91st Street on the north, 95th Street on the south, Wentworth Avenue on the east, Eggleston Avenue on the west...
NeighborhoodRoseland
Constructed1942-1943
DemolishedN/A

 

These projects were built in 1942 and completed in 1943 in the racially conflicting community of Roseland that was having conflicts between blacks and whites.  The complex was built as a 128-unit 2 story row house public housing...

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Parkway Gardens

Location63rd Street on the north, 66th Street on the south, Martin Luther King Drive on the east, Calumet Avenue on...
NeighborhoodGreater Grand Crossing
Constructed1950-1955
DemolishedN/A

 

The history of these grounds has quite an ironic history and a history of racial strife.  In my Greater Grand Crossing history I get into the whole story of the White City amusement park.  Basically White...

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Racine Courts

Location106th Street on the north, 107th street on the south along Racine Avenue
NeighborhoodWashington Heights
Constructed1951
DemolishedN/A

 

The Racine Courts were built in the Washington Heights neighborhood in 1951 as the neighborhood was transitioning from white to black.  The projects were built as 2 story row houses with 121 units and were owned by the...

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Raymond Hilliard Center

LocationCullerton Street on the north, Cermak Road on the south, State Street on the east, Clark Street on the west...
NeighborhoodNear South Side – South Loop
Constructed1966
DemolishedN/A

 

In the year 1963 Bertrand Goldberg had a grand vision to construct a public housing project that was unlike any of the other high rises the city had built in previous years.  Even though the big high rises in...

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Trumbull Park Homes

Location105th Street on the north, 109th Street on the south, Bensely Avenue on the east, Oglesby Avenue on the west....
NeighborhoodSouth Deering
Constructed1938-1939
DemolishedN/A

 

The Trumbull Park Homes are one of the first public housing projects built in Chicago.  The buildings were constructed in the year 1938 with 55 buildings consisting of both 2 story row houses and 3 and 4 story apartment...

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Wentworth Gardens

Location37th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, Wentworth Avenue on the east, Princeton Street on the west...
NeighborhoodArmour Square
Constructed1944-1945
DemolishedN/A

 

In the year 1944 the Chicago Housing Authority decided to build another public housing complex in this area to house African Americans because the nearby Bridgeport Homes were only for whites, the CHA hired designer Loebl &...

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