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The Fate of Harley Clarke

Rachel Freundt 7 comments

[Rachel Freundt/Chicago Patterns]

Although Evanston Alderman Anne Rainey called the Harley Clarke Mansion a “bundle of bricks,” the house is so much more than that. It is a National Historic Landmark, a part of the Northeast Evanston Historic District, and a lakefront jewel that perfectly symbolizes Evanston’s community, character, and history. It is also a piece of many people’s childhoods, mine included. Nearly thirty years ago, I attended art classes there when the mansion housed the Evanston Arts Center. I’d like to think spending time in the Clarke Mansion is what influenced my love of architecture and old houses.

Now, the mansion faces demolition at the hands of a short-sighted Evanston City Council and a secretive, possibly self-serving group of nearby residents who want to see it obliterated. A tenacious group of local activists continue to organize to save it.

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