Save Harley Clarke / Friends of Harley Clarke
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1. 2018 Retrospective for Chicago Historic Preservation - Significant Wins
In July, Rachel Freundt documented the controversial series of events which led to the landmarked Harley Clarke Mansion to face demolition by the Evanston City Council, which was to be financed by a privately funded group of fifty “concerned citizens” called Evanston Lighthouse Dunes.
After months of contentious city council meetings and an outpouring of support in the community, a non-binding referendum was put on the ballot, organized by a volunteer preservation group Save Harley Clarke, resulting in overwhelming support for reuse.
In mid-December, the tides turned and Evanston City Council voted 9-0 after motion to appeal was denied.
“In mid-December, the tides turned and Evanston City Council voted 9-0 after motion to appeal was denied.”
— Chicago Patterns
2. A look back at Chicago’s 7 biggest preservation wins of 2018
The multiyear saga over the fate of Evanston’s 91-year-old landmarked Harley Clarke Mansion came to a dramatic conclusion in December when the City Council voted against an earlier measure calling for the building’s demolition.
The sudden change of heart was the result of grassroots preservation efforts and overwhelming voter support of a November referendum to protect the old English Tudor Revival structure. “Historic preservation victories are rarely any sweeter—or more democratic, small “d”—than this one,” wrote Chicago Tribune columnist Blair Kamin.
It’s unclear what’s next for the city-owned mansion. Harley Clarke will require an estimated $5 million and officials are cautious about transferring the lakefront parcel to private owners. Despite these uncertainties, preservationists can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the old English Tudor Revival structure is safe for the time being.
3. Best architecture for 2018: It was a vital year, just not in the usual places
The people speak in Evanston:
Kudos to the tireless Evanston activists who spearheaded an election campaign that sent a strong message to the city’s leaders: Save the Harley Clarke mansion, a graceful, city-owned Tudor Revival lakefront home. The leaders listened.
In an advisory referendum, about 80 percent of voters opted in favor of preserving the vacant 1927 mansion at 2603 Sheridan Road. The outcome put pressure on Evanston’s City Council to chart an alternative course to the one advocated by a group of residents who offered the city more than $400,000 to tear down the structure and replace it with parkland. On Monday, the Council effectively reversed itself and halted the demolition plan.