Social visionary N.O. Nelson founded the village of Leclaire in 1890, naming it after Edme Jean Leclaire, who inaugurated profit sharing in France. In contrast to unsanitary urban tenement districts, Leclaire was a model cooperative village offering affordable homes, a healthful environment, free education, many opportunities for recreation and self improvement, and pleasant working conditions at the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company. Leclaire was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
FOL Aldermanic Forum
Leclaire’s Ward 5 Alderman position is on the ballot this spring. Watch local newspapers and the Historic Leclaire Facebook page for information regarding a forum traditionally held in the weeks before the election. City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
Updated National Register for Leclaire
The updated National Register Application for Leclaire will be posted to the National Parks Service website soon, but some may wonder why it might be of interest to them. The 200-plus pages of the report include a building survey describing the architectural style of every house and outbuilding along with an estimated date of construction and a note of its significance to the historic district. There are over 700 buildings in Leclaire, including over 400 houses.
There is also information on the planning and development of Leclaire, bio-graphical information about Leclaire’s founder, N. O. Nelson, as well as notes on the significance of the original landscape architect, Julius Pitzman. Background is given to place Leclaire in context with other company towns of the era. The report provides insight and information of value for historians as well as students. Below is an excerpt from the report by Michael Allen.
Statement of Significance Summary Paragraph
"The Leclaire Historic District, a historic suburban village now located in Edwardsville, Illinois, possesses statewide significant and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT. A thoughtfully planned and designed village founded on the progressive ideals of industrialist N.O. Nelson, Leclaire survived as an independent village until it was annexed by Edwardsville in 1934. In the late nineteenth century N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company was one of the first companies in the United States to successfully implement a profit sharing pro-gram, and later initiate a program of cooperative ownership. The village of Leclaire was a physical extension of those social ideals of the cooperative movement. The Leclaire landscape remains a cohesive suburban landscape of mostly single-family residences and a large park with a lake. Renowned engineer and surveyor Julius Pitzman of St. Louis designed Leclaire’s original plat that set the suburban character with uniform set-backs, curvilinear streets and deed restrictions. Leclaire has very little demolition or alteration since it became a part of Edwardsville, although some infill construction has been built since then. The period of significance starts with the earliest construction in 1890 and ends with the village’s annexation into Edwardsville in 1934."
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