AKA: Clark, J. Ross. House, West Adams, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Hunt and Eager, Architects (firm); Abraham Wesley Eager (architect); Sumner P. Hunt (architect)

Dates: [unspecified], demolished 1944

3 stories

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710 West Adams Boulevard
West Adams, Los Angeles, CA 90007

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The eclectic Los Angeles architectural firm of Hunt and Eager designed this extensive Tudor Revival Style residence for J. Ross Clark, c. 1905 in Los Angeles, CA.

Building History

James Ross Clark (1850-1927), born in Connellsville, PA, moved first with his family to Washington, IA by 1860, and then to MT in 1871, where he served as an express contractor with the US Postal Service until 1876. He got a position with Butte's Dexter Milling Company in 1876 and the following year became the Cashier of Butte's new Donnell, Clark and Larabie Bank, founded at the corner of Broadway and Main Street. One of the named partners in the bank was James's elder brother, William A. Clark, Sr., (1839-1925), who became extremely rich operating banks in copper-mining towns. When mine owners defaulted on loans, Clark would obtain interests in the copper mines themselves, further adding to his fortune.

James Ross Clark moved to Los Angeles, CA, by 1892, where he established a sugar company, the Los Alamitos Beet Sugar Company, in 1896 and took a financial interest in two banks, the Citizens National Bank and the Citizens Trust and Savings Bank.

By 1900, J. Ross Clark also began investing in railroads. He worked with William Clark and Edward Henry Harriman (1848-1909) to build a railroad that connected Los Angeles and its port of San Pedro to the mines near Salt Lake City, UT. This railroad, the Los Angeles, San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, would, by 1921, be absorbed into the Union Pacific Railroad, controlled by the children of Edward Harriman.

James Ross Clark married Miriam A. Evans (1858-1951) in 1878, and they had five children, two of whom survived past 1910. They included a son, Walter William Clark (1884-1913), and a daughter, Ella Harriet Clark Lee (1879-1922). Walter and his wife, Virginia Estelle McDowell(1885-1958). traveled aboard the Titanic in 1913. She survived, and he did not. Virginia grieved for a brief time, but rapidly remarried a Midwestern-transplant to Los Angeles, John Stewart Tanner, by all accounts a dashing society man with no apparent vocational skills but was known for his tennis and polo-playing.

Thereafter, relations between James and Miriam and Virginia deteriorated, as both parties competed for custody of Walter and Virginia's son, John Ross Clark, (known as "John Ross Clark II," 1910-1962). The Encycloped Titanic.org said of the rift: "Her hasty remarriage and extended absences from her son's life incensed her late husband's parents who it seems later took their grandson into their care and a custody battle ensued between Virginia's mother and the Clarks,4 the Clarks insinuating that Virginia was an unfit mother and abandoned him without adequate provision for his upkeep. The following month joint guardianship was awarded to both parties whereby they had custody six months each year in turn. Young James Ross Clark appeared with his paternal grandparents on both the 1920 and 1930 censuses. As per John Tanner's 1918 passport he and Virginia appeared to have spent much time living in France until 1914. (See Encycloped Titanica.org, "Mrs Virginia Estelle Clark," accessed 10/14/2019.) She and Tanner divorced before 1922, and she remarried a third time, again divorcing, before returning to Tanner in the 1930s.

The Clarks lived at this address in 1910, with both children residing at home. Ella's husband, Henry Carlton Lee, also lived with the family, as did Walter's wife, Virginia. Four servants included: Josephine Peterson (born c. 1876 in Sweden), Hannah Ekstrom (born c. 1877 in Sweden), Jennie L. Huigen (born c. 1880 in IA), and Yokichi Kamakura (born c. 1887 in Japan). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_82; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0202; FHL microfilm: 1374095, accessed 10/14/2019.)

James Ross Clark continued to reside at 710 West Adams Boulevard in 1920, along with his wife, Miriam A. Evans, and a John Ross II, who may have been visiting when the US Census was taken in 01/1920. The household had multiple servants including: nurse Margaret C. Heffron (born c. 1860 in PA), cook Josephine Peterson, waitress Amelia E. Winninikka (born c. 1886 in Finland), maid Mina L. Bauerle (born c. 1880 in Germany) and chauffeur Herman J. Sargent (born c. 1896 in ).

PCAD id: 21740