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Evanston officials vote to demolish historic Harley Clarke Mansion

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The English Tudor Revival style structure served as the long-time home the Evanston Art Center

The stately English Tudor Revival style structure at 2603 Sheridan Road.
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The future looks very bleak for Evanston’s historic Harley Clarke Mansion. Following a vote, city officials plan to move forward with the demolition of the 91-year-old landmarked building.

Although various groups had expressed interest in repurposing the old structure at 2603 Sheridan Road, Evanston’s alderman voted 5-3 on Monday night to raze the mansion as a means to contain the city’s budget deficit.

The vote approved an agreement between the city and Evanston Lakehouse Dunes, a group of neighbors that pledged to cover the estimated $400,000 demolition bill, according the Chicago Tribune.

Located next to the Grosse Pointe Lighthouse near Northwestern University, the building was designed by architect Richard Powers in the English Tudor Revival as a private residence for the Harley Clarke family.

The North Shore manor served as a Sigma Chi fraternity house from 1951 to 1966 before it sold to the city, who leased it to the Evanston Art Center. The nonprofit moved out in 2015 after maintenance costs became too much for the city or the center to bear.

The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and was established as a National Historic Landmark in 1998. It will require a certificate of appropriateness from Evanston’s Preservation Commission before demolition can occur.

The city’s plan aims to restore the site to its natural state, which could mean anything from a park to an empty lot. Proponents of the demolition plan argued that bringing down the building will ensure future public accessibility.

“It removes the risk of privatization and keeps it open and free for all,” Nicole Kustock, a spokeswoman for the Evanston Lighthouse Dunes group, said during Monday’s public comment period, reported the Tribune.