Le Claire Courts

Le Claire Courts

Just north of Chicago’s Midway International Airport, bordered primarily by the Stevenson Expressway and South Cicero Avenue, is the small and densely populated community of LeClaire Courts. The neighborhood, which is wholly residential, includes a Baptist church, an elementary school and a 12-acre park, which features a small community center, and is bordered to the south by W. 47th Street and to the west by S. Laramie Avenue.  

The history of LeClaire Courts is not far-reaching. Shortly after WWII ended, the Chicago Housing Authority bought the land and started to plan a new public housing project targeting low-income residents and war veterans. LeClaire Courts opened in 1950 to such widely positive response that by 1954, the federal government had allocated additional funds to the project, allowing them to add a 300-unit expansion.

Though no one seems to understand exactly why, the neighborhood was named for Antoine LeClaire, an early 19th century fur trader and revolutionary activist who also served as an Indian interpreter. LeClaire conducted extensive business with John Kinzie, who is accepted as Chicago’s first permanent white settler.

For the last several years, LeClaire Courts has been a part of Chicago’s “Plan for Transformation,” which began in 2000. Since that time, the “redevelopment” of LeClaire has been approved by city officials, meaning that its public housing will be demolished and replaced with mixed-income family homes, though a timetable has yet to be determined. According to Chicago’s Amended FY2012 Moving to Work Annual Plan, the Chicago Housing Authority will select a community development team for LeClaire’s redevelopment and expansion sometime in the 2012 fiscal year.  

In addition to a small community building that hosts summer activities and other select events, the neighborhood is also home to LeClaire Hearst Park. Humble though it is, this park provides resident children with a baseball diamond, gymnasium and basketball court. Twice in the past, and most recently in 1991, the park was expanded thanks to land purchases made by the Board of Education.

Getting to and from LeClaire Courts is quite easy, bordered as it is by Cicero Avenue and the Stevenson Expressway. Plus, the area is served by the #47 bus, which stops just outside the CTA Orange Line Kedzie station. The X54 express bus also runs along Cicero Avenue, with stops between the Jefferson Park Blue Line station to Midway Airport.

LeClaire Courts Real Estate