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.
2014 LECLAIRE PARKFEST - FUN, FOOD, FRIENDS
Leclaire Parkfest 2014 brought some challenges, but with the help of many members, friends, volunteers and sponsors it was a great year for the festival. After several days of rain, the weather cleared giving patrons the
opportunity to enjoy the music, shopping, festival food and the beer and wine from our new vendor, Bin 51!
Guests enjoyed the narrated trolley tours, historic exhibits, craft vendors and numerous activities for children, then strolled over to the east side of the park to admire an impressive collection of vintage vehicles, stopping along the way to buy books from the DAR, talk to officers at the D.A.R.E. table or even adopt a pet!
This year we learned the true meaning of “Necessity is the mother of invention.” A new Edwardsville festival made early reservations for the Chamber of Commerce electrical cords and HPC easels that FOL has relied on each year. There were more than a few moments of panic, but, with the inspiration, talent and time of our great volunteers, all turned out well.
Thanks to Site Supervisor Al Pauli’s electrical knowledge and determination to find a good price, FOL now has its own heavy duty electrical cords. Although it was a financial set-back this year, it will prove to be a great advantage in the years to come. Instead of using easels to display photographs, a collaborative effort by FOL members Bob and Mary Blain, Mark Hartman and Cindy Reinhardt created a photo gallery without easels that will be used again in the future.
By “game day” all the problems had been solved. Thank you to all of our many FOL volunteers, sponsors, vendors, city employees,
and patrons for another successful year. We’re already looking forward to next year!
Save the Date: The 24th annual Leclaire Parkfest will be on Sunday, October 18, 2015.
FOL Holiday Social
Members of Friends of Leclaire are invited to our annual social on Tuesday,December 9, at 7 p.m. hosted by Albert and Kim Pauli at 1101 Lake Avenue. The Pauli home is the brick bungalow at the southwest corner of the park featured in the last newsletter because it was used in the filming of the movie, “Marshall, the Miracle Dog.” The annual party is a great way to meet your neighbors and others who love our wonderful historic neighborhood. Please note that this is a members only event. Guests are asked to bring a plate of “finger foods” to share and if you are so inclined, BYOB. The hosts will provide non-alcoholic beverages, plates and silverware. Please RSVP to Kim Pauli at 618-444-5558.
Tourists in Leclaire
A busload of tourists from St. Charles, Missouri, took a tour of Edwardsville on November 6, including the Leclaire National Historic District.
Marshall the Miracle Dog
After the sold out premier of “Marshall the Miracle Dog” at the Tivoli Theater during the St. Louis International Film Festival, the movie is scheduled for a special local showing before its nationwide opening in late spring. It will be shown at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville on Sunday, December 14.
Kit Homes in Leclaire
Edwardsville’s Historic Preservation Commission funded a housing survey of Edwardsville last month to identify kit homes made by Sears, Montgomery Ward, Aladdin and other companies during the first half of the 20th Century. A complete list will be provided soon, but preliminary results indicate that about two-thirds of Edwardsville’s kit homes are in Leclaire or within a few blocks of Leclaire. Back-ground on Leclaire’s kit homes will be featured in the next newsletter.
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 are scheduled for 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."
Make a statement! Purchasing our merchandise lets the world know you support the goals of Friends of Leclaire. All proceeds from memberships, contributions, and merchandise support the historical and educational efforts of Friends of Leclaire.
If you have questions or would like to place an order:
Call (618) 656-1294