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Old dispute: What's Chicago's oldest building?

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The Clarke House, built in 1836 and nearing its 175th anniversary, often is referred to as the oldest surviving building in the city. But don't tell that to the Norwood Park Historical Society.

As recounted in the 2009 book Chicago: Yesterday & Today by Rich Lindberg and Carol Jean Carlson, some researchers believe the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House at 5622-24 N. Newark Avenue in Norwood Park is older by as much as three years.

noble house-72.jpg
The Noble-Seymour-Crippen House

The house, listed on National Register of Historic Places, is now a multipurpose community center that contains a museum on Far Northwest Side history.

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Let's get real. The Widow Clarke House was built in 1836, moved twice from its original foundation, and doesn't even rest on its original lot. The Noble-Seymour-Crippen House was built in 1833, rests on its original foundation, and has been designated the oldest house in Chicago by the City of Chicago. The year 1833 has always been older than the year 1836. Where do some people get off debating this issue. It has already been confirmed by the city. Let's accept the fact that not everything that is old is located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District nor anywhere else where members of high society seek to extend their largesse and influence in the spirit of historic preservation. It's time to accept reality. The oldest house in Chicago is located in the community of Norwood Park on Chicago's far northwest side. Disbelievers are invited to visit the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House on a Saturday afternoon and take a tour.

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