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Since You Asked: Clark built a lasting reputation as architect

I was reading an article that mentioned Frank Clark designed (or redesigned) the old fire house in downtown Medford. I have also noticed various homes for sale that indicated they were designed by Frank Clark, mostly in the older part of east Medford. Who was he, and how can we find out more about his work?

— Daniel P., Medford

Frank Chamberlain Clark certainly did get around, Daniel. His name is associated with more than 200 buildings in the Rogue Valley, many of them among the best known in the area.

Clark was born in New York in 1872 and as a young man he helped design parts of the old Madison Square Garden. He worked as an apprentice starting at the age of 16, for a time with Stanford White, the renowned architect who built numerous public and private buildings, including libraries in both Boston and New York City.

Clark moved west for his health, first to California and then to Southern Oregon in 1903 after designing two buildings at what is now Southern Oregon University.

The list of buildings he designed is too long to detail here, but among the most recognizable were the Medford Elks Club, the original Medford Hotel, Perl Funeral Home, the Holly Theatre, the Harry & David towers, the Hillcrest Orchard residence, South Medford High School, St. Mark's Episcopal Church and SOU's Chappel-Swedenburg House.

He was perhaps best known — and most appreciated by other architects — for the host of colonial-style homes he designed in Medford and Ashland.

Clark's career spanned more than 60 years and he worked into his 80s. He died in 1957 at the age of 86.

Local author Kay Atwood compiled a survey of Clark's buildings as well as a biography as part of a grant from the state Historic Preservation Office. The work is available locally at the Southern Oregon Historical Society, 106 N. Central Ave., Medford. You can call SOHS at 858-1724 for more information or go online at www.sohs.org and click on "Our Services" to request that information be sent to you (there is a small fee).

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.