Clarke House is located on Lot 36 of the Original Plat of the Town of Franklin.  The lot came into the hands of Samuel Herriott on December 9, 1850, for the consideration of $800.00.  Mr. Herriott served as the first Johnson County Clerk from 1823 to 1839.  He was one of the five commissioners who, on May 22, 1839, decided on the location of the county seat, and was the person who suggested the name of “Franklin” as the name of the town.   Mr. Herriott and his wife, Lydia, built their residence near the southwest corner of Lot 36 in 1853 which was near the time when the first students arrived at Franklin College.  Their house was an outstanding building in the neighborhood since it was a large, square, two-story structure with a finely finished interior. It was one of the first brick residences in the area.

Samuel Herriott died in May of 1863 and Lydia conveyed the residence to John Clarke on November 27, 1863. The house then consisted of the original brick with two rooms above and two below with a hall and stairway. In the spring of 1880, Mr. Clarke built the east part of the structure which became known as the Franklin Hotel. The present Courthouse was in the process of construction and Mr. Clarke engaged the same contractors to erect his building. A yard was left between the residence and the new building which was utilized for a tennis court.

In 1886, the west part of the Clarke building was expanded to cover the yard space and to include the old brick residence. A jog in the east wall of the hotel barber shop and one in the west wall of the hotel lobby (reception room of Huddleston & Huddleston) show where the front corners of the house were. Back of the jog in each of these rooms is preserved an original press and adjoining it a fireplace.

The back part of the hotel barber shop was a parlor of the residence. The front part of the hotel hall is a continuance forward of the residence hall and the back of the lobby was the sitting room. The brick walls of the old residence were utilized in the new building, except the old front wall was cut through to allow the extension of the barber shop, hall, and hotel lobby out to the Jefferson Street sidewalk.


Upon the death of John Clarke in 1896, William Suckow, Jr. purchased the hotel property from the Clarke estate. The hotel continued in operation until 1935 when Austin Flinn acquired the building and opened a funeral home which later became Flinn and Maguire. In

November 1979, the property was purchased by Stephen Lee Huddleston, who restored the building as offices for the practice of law.