Over the ensuing years additional research conducted by museum staff indicated that there had likely been a portico on the west façade similar to the one on east side. T. Gunny Harboe, AIA, then working with McClier, lead the effort to restore the entire exterior of the building to reflect this new information. The house was restored to its appearance when Mrs. Clarke lived there in the 1850s, as this is seen as being its primary period of significance. Detailed finish analysis was completed that indicated the house was actually a color to resemble sandstone, rather than the white color which had been used for many years.  The result has been recognized with the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois’ 2005 Preservation Award for Restoration and The Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ 2005 Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence.

Photos by James Caulfield

Title Clarke House
Work Completed Exterior Restoration
Date Completed 2004
Client City of Chicago
Location Chicago, Illinois
Architect of Record McClier

clarke house

Project Information

The Clarke House, a City of Chicago Landmark, was constructed in 1836 near Sixteenth Street and Michigan Avenue and is one of Chicago’s oldest buildings. The house is also one of the best surviving examples of the Greek Revival style in Chicago. It was originally built for Henry B. Clarke, who was a wealthy hardware dealer in the city.  After his death in 1849, the building became known as the Widow Clarke House.  Following the fire of 1871, the house was moved to 45th Street and Wabash Avenue and then in 1977 the city acquired the building and it was moved again to its current site at 1855 South Indiana.  The house is currently operated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as a historic house museum.