George Lawrence Jr. Clarke House

12810 W. Hampton Ave., Butler, Wisconsin

One of the last surviving, intact remnants of Butler's farming roots


Overview Looking Northwest

This farmhouse was moved from its original location, about 4 blocks to the east, about 1910 to make room for a C&NW yard. With the coming of the railroad, Butler made a transition from agriculture to an industrial base.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in April 2016




"The George L. Clarke, Jr. House is located in a residential area on the outskirts of the Village of Butler. The house itself is a 1 1/2- and two-story, frame, gabledell, Greek Revival style farmhouse that was constructed in two or possibly three distinct stages. The oldest part of the house is the mid-nineteenth century, long, 1 1/2-story leg of the ell. Abutting that to the north is a shed-roofed rear lean-to addition that was probably constructed at the same time as, or not long after, the first part was built. The end-gabled, two-story, eastern portion of the house and the east end of the rear lean-to were built in 1910.

"Ordinarily moved structures are not eligible for listing in the National Register. The Clarke House was moved from its original site in 1909-1910, within its period of significance, to save it from demolition when its site was redeveloped as a railroad yard. The house was moved by the same family that had long owned it to a new site with a similar rural character within the same community. Since being moved was a common occurrence in the life cycle of many nineteenth century buildings in Wisconsin, rather than detracting from its significance, this episode actually adds to the historical interest of the Clarke House by highlighting this interesting, but now largely forgotten, aspect of nineteenth century life in Wisconsin.

"The garage is also of architectural interest as a rare, if not unique, example of an automobile garage adapted to rural life by incorporating privies into its design. Although usually thought of as an urban building type, the automobile garage was also added to the array of agricultural outbuildings found on many Wisconsin farms in the early twentieth century.

"When George L. Clarke, Jr. was constructing his new farmstead on his father's old farm, he included an automobile garage, but adapted it to its agrarian environment by incorporating a pair of privies into it. As originally sited, these privies would have faced north, away from the house, toward the fields and the complex of farm buildings. They would have served the needs of the farmer and his family as well as hired hands working in the farmyard and fields. They may have also initially served the Clarke family if the house was not originally provided with an indoor toilet, which would not have been unusual for a house in the country in 1910.

"To summarize, as a rare surviving example of an early automobile garage incorporating privies, the Clarke garage is of architectural interest as an adaptation of an essentially urban building type to a rural environment."

Adapted from the National Register of Historic Places Application Form prepared by Leslie J. Vollmert, dated January 17, 1985. A link to the entire document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 24, 1995
Reference number
NR name
Clarke, George Lawrence Jr., House
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Exploration/Settlement
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Current functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1875-1899; 1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant years
1850; 1856; 1910
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • April 8, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos