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5000 Monona Drive

The 17-room Watertown brick house that Chat Clarke built facing Monona Dr. survives only in memories and pictures now, but old-timers like to remember it as the finest house of the early days of white man's settlement of the area. Set on a spacious lawn and surrounded by large elm and maple trees, the 17-room house was the center for social activities in the last quarter of the 19th century. The area is now commercially zoned and is the location of the Monona Professional Building and McDonald's Restaurant.


Mr. Clarke owned two pieces of land of 120 acres each, which extended from the present Monona Drive to the lake shore. He was a fancier of fine horses, and had a private race track in what was called "the flat", about where Immaculate Heart of Mary Church was later built. A solidly built, double brick house with a 40 foot porch across the front with a pointed penthouse effect roof running from front to back. The .downstairs was evenly divided into four 16-foot square rooms with 11 1/2 -foot high ceilings. One entered through a double doorway into a hall with a walnut bannistered stairway. Eventually the building was divided into four apartments, and was razed in 1969 to make way for the present commercial buildings.

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