Harley Clarke Mansion

Harley Clarke Mansion

The Harley Clarke Mansion is located at 2603 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois.

Background: Harley Clarke Mansion

Located adjacent to the Grosse Pointe Lighthouse and Lighthouse Beach in the northeast corner of Evanston, the Harley Clarke Mansion is a historic English Tudor mansion. The City of Evanston purchased the property from the Sigma Chi National Fraternity in 1965 as part of the development of the Lighthouse Landing Park. The building had previously served as the fraternity’s national headquarters from 1951-1965. Prior to that time, the home was a private residence.

The City of Evanston leased the building to the Evanston Arts Center from the late 1960s until 2015. In recent years, the property has required more maintenance than either the City or Art Center was able to fund.  On July 11, 2011, the City Council directed city staff to begin a process to identify other uses for the property.

A request for proposals was issued in 2012 which yielded only one proposal to purchase and renovate the property for use as a hotel. In response to concerns raised by neighbors about traffic and preservation of public beach access, the City Council voted to reject this proposal on July 22, 2013. Near the end of 2013, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) approached the City about acquiring the mansion in order to relocate the offices of the state’s coastal management program and establish an education center open to the public. These negotiations continued through 2014 and ended in January, 2015 when the City and State were unable to come to agreement on the sale versus lease of the property and uncertainty in the future direction of IDNR with changes in administration.   The Evanston Arts Center has obtained a new facility and relocated its programs and services to Central Street in May, 2015.

The Evanston City Council appointed a Citizens Committee to study the issue and prepare a report on Harley Clarke to be presented on June 8, 2015. This report as well as other documentation on Harley Clarke are available below. No decisions have been made regarding the future of the property.  The City Council has directed that discussions on the property be postponed until after the State of Illinois reaches an agreement on the state budget.  The mansion is currently closed and not in use.

For additional information about the Mansion, please contact the City Manager’s Office at citymanagersoffice@cityofevanston.org or 847-448-4311.

City Council

City Council Meeting Packet for September 12, 2016

City Council Meeting Packet for October 26, 2015

City Council Meeting Packet for September 21, 2015

Harley Clarke Mansion Photos

Harley Clarke Carriage House Photos

Harley Clarke Citizens' Committee

The mission of the Harley Clarke Citizens’ Committee was to identify, develop, and evaluate the viability of options in the context of the criteria developed by the Committee. The Committee unanimously agreed not to consider any option in which the beach or access to the beach does not remain publicly owned.

Additionally, the Committee solicited public input in four ways – (1) through a City established email harleyclarkemansion@cityofevanston.org, (2) 30 minutes of public comment at the beginning the second meeting, held on February 26, 2015, (3) a public comment period at the end of all subsequent meetings in which options are evaluated, and (4) through a public workshop held on Monday, May 18, 2015. The Committee made its final report to City Council on June 8, 2015; City Council will take up the issue in September. The Harley Clarke Committee's report to City Council can be viewed below.

Harley Clarke Committee Report To City Council June 8



Condition Assessment

Cost Estimates

IDNR Documentation


RFP & Tawani Proposal

Historical Info

Planning & Zoning


Legislative history


9/12/2016 - City Council 

Meeting Packet Documents
Approved Proposal


10/26/2015 - City Council

Meeting Packet Documents

2/12/2015 - First meeting of the Citizens' Commitee

2/12/15 Meeting Agenda

1/26/2015 - Special Citizens' Committee Appointed:

Ald. Ann Rainey
Ald. Jane Grover
Steve Hagerty
Linda Damashek
Garry Shumaker 
Dawn Davis-Zeinemann
Amina DiMarco

1/12/2015 - Memo of Understanding with Evanston Arts Center & Harley Clarke Next Steps

Meeting Packet

1/5/2015 - Human Services Committee Update on Harley Clarke Negotiations with IDNR

Meeting packet
Status Letter from IDNR


9/22/2014 - Ordinance 103-O-14, authorizing the City Manager to negotiate with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Meeting packet


7/23/2013 - Council declines Tawani Proposal


2/25/2013 - council discussion on Tawani Proposal during executive session



8/13/2012 - Council approves distribution of RFP to intereseted parties

Meeting packet

5/14/2012 - RFI approved

Meeting packet


7/11/2011 - Council Authorizes City Manager to investigate new uses for Harley Clarke

Meeting packet

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