Chicago’s oldest house gets a new name and a renewed mission

The Clarke House Museum at 1827 S. Indiana is a Greek Revival house considered Chicago’s oldest house. It was built in 1836.

Sun-Times files

A city-owned Greek Revival house that’s considered Chicago’s oldest home most likely wouldn’t exist today were it not for an influential South Side pastor.

But the story of how the late Bishop Louis Henry Ford, pastor of St. Paul Church of God in Christ, saved the 186-year-old Henry B. Clarke House and helped facilitate its 1977 relocation to its current (and near-original) site at 1827 S. Indiana Ave., was too often relegated to the back seats of history whenever the noted home was discussed.

Until now, that is.

The City Council last week rightfully voted to change the name of Chicago’s oldest landmark from the Henry B. Clarke House to the Henry B. and Caroline Clarke/Bishop Louis Henry and Margaret Ford House.

Editorials bug

Editorials

The new title is no doubt a mouthful — it’ll be called the “Clarke-Ford House” for short — but the moniker corrects the record to show Ford’s critical involvement in saving and preserving the home.

“As it relates to African Americans in the city of Chicago and this nation, the history has been obfuscated — in many arenas obliterated,” said Ford’s grandson, Kevin Anthony Ford, senior pastor at St. Paul COGIC, 4528 S. Wabash Ave. “So it’s critical that the African American component to history be brought into the light.”

House moved ‘at walking speed’ in 1977

The Clarke-Ford House …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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