Let’s Talk Clovis: Dr. Richard Tracy Clark’s 1900 Home

Dr. Richard Tracy Clark’s 1900 home. (Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

Dr. Richard Tracy Clark arrived in Clovis in 1899 to practice medicine. Our only other doctor at that time was Dr. Milton McMurtry whose son Dr. M. S. McMurtry would practice here from 1904-1962.

Dr. Clark (widowed twice) and his sister Dr. Nell Clark had been encouraged to leave Columbus, Neb. and relocate to Clovis. In 1900, Dr. Clark purchased two city lots (SW corner of 4th and Pollasky) from Mabel K. DeWitt for $10.00 in gold coin. Miss DeWitt was the daughter of H. G. DeWitt who built a two story building (453 Pollasky) in 1906.  A Street is named (two blocks west of Pollasky) in his honor.

Clark and his sister built a lean to temporary home on the property. He supervised and participated in the carpentry. He personally selected a variety of woods for the interior of his home.  It was called “Woodville”.

The house was high ceilinged, two and one half story, 14 room frame structure.  Clark inserted copper ore (from our flourishing Copper King Mine) specimens in some of the rock work. It would take several years to complete his home.    

Miss Francis Bryant joined her cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Treasure, here in 1898. She was an accomplished artist. She established an art studio in Fresno. She married Dr. Clark in 1904.

Fred Clark (Dr. Clark’s son by his first wife) had remained in Nebraska and was raised by his mother’s brother. 17-year-old Fred would join his father here. He attended Clovis High School. He worked in the box factory and later would farm on his father’s Minnewawa ranch.

Fred married Ollie Jackson. Her father (early day pioneer Perry Rockwell Jackson) built their home at 406 DeWitt (SW corner of DeWitt and Fourth) in 1903. The historic home remains and has become the “Christmas Home” during the Holiday. 

Dr. Clark retired and in 1913 he sold his home to Arthur Boice who converted it into a Funeral Home. A trap door was installed in a back room of the main floor in order to lower bodies and caskets to the large basement. Boice’s moved to the SW corner of Third and Pollasky in 1929. They remain at that location.

Forrest Franklin purchased the home in 1942.  The Franklin family resided in the main house. They converted the large basement into five apartments. Numerous airmen from Hammer Field and their families lived there.

Mrs. Franklin recalled the house had a friendly ghost they called “Mr. Silent” since she and her daughter Kay would speak to “It” but “It” would remain silent.  “It” would wander about in the attic and bother no one. Mrs. Franklin wondered what location the supernatural sought after the home was destroyed.

The Franklin home was used for several community functions. The traveling photographer would come to town and set up shop in their parlor. The voting precinct was available on the front porch or in bad weather inside the big reception room. Mobile-X-Ray units would park in front of their home and use their electricity.

In 1952, Forrest Franklin sold the home to local businessman Harold Cosby. Cosby rented the home to James Wheeler who lived and operated a used furniture store there.

In 1955, Cosby sold the home to Walter Kingen who previously had owned several dime stores in this area. The Kingen Clovis dime store was located in the 1906 DeWitt building at 447 Pollasky.

The historic Clark home was demolished in 1955 in order to “modernize” Pollasky Ave. It was a sad time for the “old timers” of Clovis to have the unique home becomes a victim of “progress”.

Dr. Clark and his family provided us a rich heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.