Friends of Harley Clarke

Harley for the win: Harley Clarke has been saved from the wrecking ball.


It's unanimous... Harley for the WIN!


Harley Clarke Mansion Has Been Saved
From the Wrecking Ball 

Citizen-Led Effort to Reverse Demolition of Landmarked House and Gardens Has Succeeded, Enabling the Evanston Treasure to be Enjoyed by The Community

EVANSTON, IL – December 11, 2018  — Impassioned voters came together Monday night to pack the Evanston Civic Center as the City Council made a unanimous decision to finally end the path toward demolition of the city’s landmarked Harley Clarke house and historic Jens Jensen gardens by denying an appeal which would have prolonged the discussion until a January 2019 meeting. Despite a landslide majority (80+%) of the Evanston public voting to preserve and protect the Harley Clarke mansion from demolition on Nov. 6th, the advisory referendum was non-binding, leaving an opportunity for council members to vote against the will of its constituents Monday. Evanston citizens emerged victorious as the City Council chose to end demolition discussion with a unanimous vote of 9-0 to deny the appeal.

On October 23rd, the City’s Preservation Commission unanimously denied the City’s application for a Certificate or Appropriateness to demolish the landmarked building, yet the City automatically appealed that decision. Monday night the council voted on whether or not to further its appeal of that decision. It voted to deny the appeal, which ended the discussion, saving Harley Clarke from the wrecking ball.
Save Harley Clarke, a citizen led initiative to stop demolition, released a statement about the vote:
On behalf of SHC and the more than 80% of the voters who supported preservation of this landmarked building and historic Jens Jensen gardens, we’re grateful that the City Council has listened to the voice of the people and the experts from its own Preservation Commission who say it is important to preserve our landmark buildings. 
We are so grateful to Landmarks Illinois, Jenner & Block, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, The National Trust, and many other local, state and national elected officials and organizations who worked to support us throughout this long process -- and of course to the hundreds of volunteers who gave thousands of hours to our work. We look forward to next steps and to keeping our promise to the Evanston community to keep the space for public use and at no cost to the taxpayer.
About Save Harley Clarke:
Preservation. History. Culture. A citizen-led group assembled to Save Evanston’s only public lakefront mansion, an historic Evanston treasure giving lakefront access to all Evanston citizens in response to a proposal by private citizens to pay to demolish the city landmark Harley Clarke House near Lighthouse Beach, in Evanston, Illinois. A grassroots group of residents put the vote to the people of Evanston in an advisory referendum with the first citizen-led ballot initiative in more than a decade and won with 80.3% of the vote. The Save Harley Clarke group believes that private individuals paying to demolish a public asset and landmarked structure is wrong, and sets a dangerous and unjust precedent and are seeking instead to preserve the property as a public community space through adaptive reuse. For more information, or to make a pledge or donation, visit or

Friends of Harley Clarke & Save Harley Clarke offer $15,000 Gift to City of Evanston


December 9, 2010

 Dear City Manager Bobkiewicz,

On behalf of Save Harley Clarke and the newly-formed 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Friends of Harley Clarke, we offer to the City the sum of $15,000 per year as a gift to be applied to the maintenance and utilities of the Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House (Harley Clarke) as previously outlined by the City Manager on April 6, 2018. The offer is made for an initial period of two years, upon which time we can assess with the council an extension of time to best suit the project's needs.

The offer represents our commitment to preserve Harley Clarke at little or no cost to the citizens of Evanston, which we believe reflects the will of the 80.3% of Evanston voters who voted in favor of preservation.

In exchange for the gift, we would hope that the City would agree to facilitate, without cost, efforts by Friends of Harley Clarke and other organizations to identify alternative uses and development plans for Harley Clarke. It is our belief that a future use for the buildings can be consistent with the November 6 referendum. "Facilitation" would include providing access to Harley Clarke for the following purposes: development of reuse plans and cost estimates, donor cultivation, and community engagement, among others.

We understand the frustration of City Council and community members related to the amount of time Harley Clarke has taken on Council calendars and public comment.  We believe our offer will allow the Council to focus on other priorities while we develop a proposal that is viable and self-sustaining, while incorporating community-based access and opportunities. We know other interested parties want to do the same.  It is our understanding that even over the course of the last few months other concepts have surfaced.  We believe this demonstrates significant interest in Harley Clarke and evidence of the potential for a successful plan.  A time period free from the threat of demolition will allow more opportunities to come forward, plans to be developed, and funds to be secured.

We look forward to the opportunity to formalize an agreement with you and put together an exciting and successful project.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.


Allie Harned, Save Harley Clarke

Jennifer Shadur, Friends of Harley Clarke