Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eli P. Clark -- Saint James Park

The Pasadena & L.A. Electric in 1906
Figueroa at Marmion Way (3)

Eli P. Clark (1847-1931) arrived in Los Angeles in 1891 at the behest of his partner, long-time friend, and brother-in-law General Moses Sherman. The two partners had just grown a successful mercantile business in Prescott, Arizona Territory, along with a railroad from Prescott to Seligman (Prescott & Arizona RR) when Gen. Sherman (so named because he was the adjutant general for the Arizona Territory) heard that cable-car interests in Los Angeles were encountering difficulty because of sand and water getting into the cable systems. Sherman knew that New York was having success with new "electric" trolleys, which were cheaper to operate and build. Immediately Clark and Sherman went to L.A. and purchased multiple short lines to form the Los Angeles Consolidated Railway, installing Sherman as President and Clark as Vice-President. Shortly after that they created the first interurban railway, the Pasadena & Los Angeles Electric Railway. Newspaper cartoonists in 1900 had this view of his company. Selling it to Henry Huntington in 1901, Clark continued to run it until 1909, when it was sold to the Southern Pacific.

Around 1904 the Clarks wished to move from their house at 823 W. 23rd to something more luxurious. A prime lot on the north side of prestigious St. James Park was available, and so by 1906 they had moved in.

9 St. James Park, taken from across the street at 20 St. James Pk.

The family lived here until the death of Lucy H. (Sherman) Clark in 1942, celebrating marriages of their daughters, engagement parties, and other social events in the house. Daughter Mary Sherman's wedding to Henry Eversole in 1910 was officiated by the Reverend Robert J. Burdette, whose book the house photo came from. Son Eugene and his wife lived next door to the north for more than 20 years.

And though retired, in 1911 Eli Clark funded the building of his namesake Hotel Clark, which was an early user of concrete in larger buildings.

Sherman and Clark were partners for most of their lives.  They ended up dying within a year of each other, and have a shared tombstone at Forest Lawn Glendale. Clark's wife Lucy and Sherman's daughter Hazeltine are also interred there.
From Men of the Pacific Coast, 1902

The house was eventually demolished and is now incorporated into a nearby Los Angeles school.

1.  L.A. from the Mountains to the Sea
2.  Rootsweb.com (biography)
3. Photo from Pacific Electric; Donald Duke; 1958; An L.A. bound car is crossing the Los Angeles and Salt Lake R.R. tracks, which previously ran down the east side of Figueroa, turning east at York Blvd. to cross the Arroyo Seco. The bridge for the Pacific Electric ran across the arroyo a block south. 

1. A brief video from 1919 showing the main intersection in St. James Park


  1. John C. Corey BarnardJune 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Thank you so much for postín a foto of this house. Henry Eversole was my great Uncle as were Eli P Clark and Gen.Sherman. Henry's son Henry Jr. Brought my mother Catherine Barnard. Clark and my father, George Corey from Utah , together at the Boulders, another wonderful old house on Foothill Blvd in. La Canada

    1. Dear John Barnard,

      I was wondering if you would mind contacting me at my email address (curt656@aol.com). Some years ago, I bought a large genealogical book off of ebay which bears an inscription, "To Katherine Tritle (sp?) Barnard, From Eli P Clark." I am curious if this book is related to your family in any way. I could send you some photos if you were interested.



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