Madden Wells Homes
Regarded as one unified development, Madden Park, Wells and Darrow Homes are actually
three separate properties located in Chicago’s Mid-South/Bronzeville neighborhood. The
general boundaries for these sites are 37th street on the north, Langley on the east, Pershing
Road on south and Cottage Grove on the West.
Public housing residents are represented by a strong leadership headed by the development’s
Local Advisory Council (LAC). This council is synonymous with a tenant association and is
headed by an LAC president who is part of the Central Advisory Council, the governing body of
LAC President Eunice Crosby
Mailing Address 3824 S. Lake Park, 1st Flr.
Chicago, IL 60653
Madden Park, Wells, and Darrow Homes are three distinct sections of a single public housing
complex. Built between 1940 and 1970, these three sites occupy a total of 94 acres. And while
they are joined together in name, they each embody a very different past in the history of public
The low-rise Ida B. Wells development was built in 1941 exclusively for African Americans. It was
the largest of the demonstration developments built under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Public Works
Administration (initiatives developed to promote socio-economic recovery during the Great
Depression). It was the first housing development in Chicago to incorporate a city park, which
offered playgrounds and athletic fields.
Completed in 1961, the now-demolished Clarence Darrow Homes were named after the
legendary Chicago-based civil rights lawyer and social activist Clarence Darrow. A total of 479
apartments were built on this site. The Darrow property was demolished in 2000.
Madden Park Homes was built in 1970 and consists of a mix of nine-story and three-story
buildings. The Madden Park site was the last of the large housing projects to be constructed by
the CHA. It was built during a post-war building boom when the conventional architecture for
public housing shifted from low-rise to high-rise structures. This architectural building type was
largely regarded as a mistake, and the conversion of Madden Park into low-rise mixed-income
housing represents a new turning point for public housing.
Madden/Wells is currently home to approximately 2,200 public housing residents.
Plan for Transformation: Mixed-Income Redevelopment
Construction of this new mixed-income community, which will be located only two blocks from
Chicago’s popular Lakefront, is scheduled to begin during the spring/summer of 2003. The
Madden-Wells site will be reborn as a traditional Chicago neighborhood, connected to the city’s
street grid and reflecting the architecture of the surrounding area. Two and three-story walk-ups
will represent the dominant housing style for this new community. The Master Plan calls for
3,000 units to be constructed of these 1,000 units will be reserved for public housing residents,
680 for affordable residents, and 1,320 for market-rate residents.
The developers for the first phase of this multi-phase redevelopment plan are Oakwood
Boulevard Associate, Community Builders, Granite Development, and Thrush Companies.
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