Heart Bomb 2019: Harley Clarke Mansion

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Happy Valentine’s Day week! I had fun joining Landmarks Illinois this weekend heart-bombing the Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston, Illinois. Thanks in part to the hard work of Save Harley Clarke (now Friends of Harley Clarke), this beautiful lake-front mansion will go on to serve a new life. An adaptive reuse plan for the building is currently in works.

The Harley Clarke Mansion was built in 1927. It was designed by Chicago architect Richard Powers and the landscape surrounding the lakefront house was designed by Jens Jensen and Alfred Caldwell (both Prairie School landscape architects that designed many of Chicago’s parks). The Clarke family owned the house until 1949. It operated for nearly 15 years as the Sigma Chi national headquarters (the house sits just north of Northwestern University), after which it was purchased by the city of Evanston. The Evanston Art Center leased the property from the city until 2015, when maintenance became too expensive for both the art center and the city. Fast forward to this year, the residents of Evanston voted to preserve the building and the Friends of Harley Clarke will function as a non-profit to fund the continued use of the building.

Interested in the heart-bombing phenomenon? The National Trust for Historic Places now has a map tracking heart-coming efforts across the country. See that and read more about it here. Follow along with the Landmarks Illinois instagram for the official pictures from this year’s heart bomb.

Happy Valentine’s and have a great week!

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Sources and Further Reading:

To follow along with Harley Clarke’s next chapter (and help out!), head over to Friends of Harley Clarke.

You can read about the history of Harley Clarke here.

I love putting together Valentine’s-themed pieces for the blog. It’s such a great excuse to show love for not just people but places! Check out my 2016 (Minoru Yamasaki in Seattle!) and 2017 (bridges in Portland) posts. In 2018 I joined Landmarks Illinois in heart-bombing this Chicago workers cottage.

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