Clarke House Museum has a fantastic and unlikely story that is perfectly at home in this city of tantalizing tales.
Picture this: it’s 1835. Your family is comfortable. You live in upstate New York, members of the upper-middle class. You’ve been married for a few years, have a few children (although one, sadly, died), and then your husband trots off to a marshy prairie on the shores of a giant inland lake. He comes back, filled with dreams and visions.
“Caroline! I’ve found our new home! It’ll take three weeks to get there, and it’s pretty much a backwater now, but it’ll grow. Oh, yes, it’ll grow. Shall we?”
And you look at your husband, and instead of saying: “Are you off your rocker?” you say, “Sure, honey. Why not?”
In the early 1830s, Henry Brown Clarke was a merchant in Utica, New York. His father was an attorney and judge and his grandfather was a Revolutionary War hero.
Caroline Palmer Clarke was that oh-so-rare early nineteenth-century phenomenon: an educated woman. She attended the first higher education institution for women in the United States. The Troy Female Seminary, founded by and later named for Emma Willard, opened in 1821 with the express purpose of providing women the same educational opportunities as men. What a radical concept.
Learn more about the fantastic and unlikely story that is perfectly at home in this city of tantalizing tales in Living Landmarks of Chicago.
Address: 1827 S. Indiana Ave
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Sources for Clarke House Museum
This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.
- Caroline’s letter to her sister
- Chicago and Clarke House Timeline
- Chicago Landmarks Designation Report
- City of Chicago, information on website as well as the in-house tour
- Charles Walker