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Frank Chamberlain Clark


Frank Chamberlain Clark, Architect [1872-1957]

Frank C. Clark was born in Greene, New York December 27, 1872. His training in architecture was gained under the apprenticeship system. In 1888 he entered the office of Frederick Martinez, Jr., in Bayonne, New Jersey. After two years with Martinez, he worked successively in the New York offices of Arthur C. Longyear, Oscar S. Teale, and Robert Gibson, the latter of whom Clark remembered as an exponent of the Romanesque Style. He enrolled in the Cooper Union Night School of Engineering and, for a brief period of four months in 1896 before his health broke, he was associated with the eminent firm of McKim, Mead and White. In 1897 Clark moved to the West Coast and entered the Los Angeles office of Frank Roehrig. He was in the Roehrig office about two years, and while there worked with Joseph Jacobberger, who later was a leading architect in Portland. In 1899 Clark launched his independent practice, undertaking various projects in Arizona at Jerome, Tucson and Prescott. Clark arrived in Ashland, Oregon in the fall of 1902, according to his own account, and opened an office there which he maintained until he moved to Medford in 1909. Clark spent the rest of his career headquartered in Medford, and verified by his own account that he "pioneered the game" in southern Oregon. He worked in virtual isolation for improved building ordinances and "better buildings" in general. In 1935 Clark joined in partnership with Robert Keeney, who was largely responsible for the Modernistic commercial buildings produced by the office.

In 1945 Clark retired, although he continued some consulting work thereafter. He died in Medford in May, 1957.

Frank Clark's output was prolific. It encompassed some 250 projects throughout the Rogue Valley, including at least 78 residences ranging in style from the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival to Bungalow, Arts and Crafts and Prairie Style and the gamut of 20th Century period styles, especially Tudor and Colonial. In Ashland, Clark designed The Women's Civic Center building, the Elks building, the Swedenburg and Traverner houses, the Enders building, and the Prachtt Butler and Carter-Fortmiller houses. Grants Pass projects included the Michael Clemens and George Calhoun houses and several business blocks. His Medford buildings include the Bear Creek Orchards plant, the Medford Hotel, Elks building, Methodist Church, Kay building, the Holly and Craterian theatres, Medford Senior High School and the Community Hospital building on East Main Street. Medford houses designed by Clark include Reginald Parsons summer home at Hillcrest Orchards, and the Delroy Getchell, Ralph Bardwell and Victor Bursell houses. The Henry Van Hoevenburg house in Sams Valley was designed by Clark.

Clark married Grace Wilson of Jacksonville, Oregon in 1924. The couple had four children. Shortly after the last child was born, Frank Clark built the home he specifically designed for his young family. At almost sixty years of age, with two major projects in Medford just completed (the Holly Theatre and Washington School), the architect could afford this gift to his wife and children, Clark's daughter recalls that each child had his or her individually planned room with furniture designed by the architect.

† Kay Atwood, Frank Chamberlain Clark House, Jackson County, OR, nomination document, 1982, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.


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