Our History

Betty Maloney of the Goshen Preservation Alliance starts the Leclaire Centennial Committee with a list of members of the Leclaire Neighborhood Association and with an ad in the Edwardsville Intelligencer inviting interested persons to a meeting in April 1989.

The Leclaire Centennial Committee facilitated and coordinated activities of various organizations, with the main event being the June 16th Centennial Celebration on the anniversary of Leclaire’s founding. 

The committee under the guidance of Editor Robert Blain, published a book chronicling the village’s 100 year history entitled, “The Historic Cooperative Village of Leclaire, Edwardsville, Illinois.” Following the Centennial, a video on the history of Leclaire was produced by Robert Gill.

An organizational meeting is held by members of the former Leclaire Centennial Committee in April 1991 to form a group to promote the Leclaire neighborhood. The name of Friends of Leclaire is suggested by James Fralinger. Janet Foehrkolb and Jean Hughes become the organization’s first Co-presidents, Diane Jacober, Secretary and Mary Blain, Treasurer. 

The first Friends of Leclaire Newsletter was published in October 1991. An Old-Fashioned Picnic was held in October, marking what would become the annual celebration of Leclaire Parkfest.

Friends of Leclaire is officially incorporated with the State of Illinois as an educational, not-for-profit organization. 

The first Leclaire Parkfest is established to educate the public about Leclaire's social and architectural heritage and the benefits of historic preservation. Parkfest later develops into one of Edwardsville's longest running and most successful community festivals. Proceeds continue to support educational research and park improvement programs. 

Jim Fralinger in association with Friends of Leclaire lead efforts to support the Leclaire Water Tower rehabilitation project after it is threatened with demolition. The structure is stabilized and partially restored, helping to save an iconic community landmark.

Friends of Leclaire leads efforts to raise money to assist the Edwardsville Parks Department in purchasing a fountain for Leclaire Lake. $8,078.70 was raised from donations; the fountain added to the serene setting of the park, as well as helped to aerate the lake. 

As a part of its educational mission, Friends of Leclaire revises and expands their 1990 history of Leclaire. The new volume “A History of the Cooperative Village of Leclaire” is nearly double in size.

Friends of Leclaire participated in discussions regarding the development of the N.O. Nelson factory complex that will become a new satellite campus of Lewis and Clark Community College. LCCC brings in architects to suggest historically sensitive design changes for the complex. Careful planning and successful completion of this project re-established the Nelson complex as a viable part of Leclaire’s historic north end.

Friends of Leclaire raises funds for new playground equipment in Leclaire Park.

Concerned that the expansion project on the western portion of Franklin Avenue would increase traffic and reduce the road's historic character, Friends of Leclaire opposes plans for the proposed road connector between Troy Road and relocated Route 159. While the expansion is eventually approved, Friends of Leclaire worked to ensure a compromise that considered the historic nature of the neighborhood including the use of v-gutters, the planting of large hardwood street trees, and the retention of a four-way "Stop" at the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Longfellow.

Friends of Leclaire successfully applied for a historic marker commemorating Leclaire’s unique history from the Illinois State Historical Society. The marker was installed in April, 2006.

Friends of Leclaire installed and contributed financially to a memorial garden and landscaping on the south end of Leclaire Park.

Friends of Leclaire unveils a new web site featuring more educational material on Leclaire and N. O. Nelson. With the website comes a new look for all FOL publications, including the newsletter. 

Will Krause coordinated the project with Adam Celuch of Inlandesign. The updated logo was designed by Sherrie Hickman, owner of Creative Options Graphic Design.

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Annual Reports


Contact Us

Friends of Leclaire
P.O. Box 644
Edwardsville, IL 62025
(618) 656-1294