Clarke-Ford House Restoration

Chicago, IL

The Clarke-Ford House is the oldest house still standing in Chicago and one of the city’s earliest preservation success stories. Originally constructed in 1836, the house has been carefully relocated on two separate occasions and was one of the first buildings to ever be designated an official Chicago Landmark. It now stands in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, where it is operated as a museum by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

AltusWorks was tasked with the facility assessment and design for repairs and renovations at the Clarke-Forde House. In 2022, AltusWorks performed a thorough assessment of the building’s exterior envelope, its mechanical, engineering, and plumbing systems, and the existing accessibility conditions of the site and interior. While the museum is being re-defined to incorporate the history of the Bishop Ford family, DCASE decided to focus on restoring the exterior envelope, modify the monumental portico stairs, and mitigate condensation issues at the 2nd floor air diffusers. These renovations will protect the historic exterior and allow better access to the future programming needs of the museum while preserving the building for years to come.

The Clarke Ford House as it appeared circa 1902 (image courtesy of Library of Congress)
The Clarke-Ford House in January 2021, before restoration work began