The J.L. Clark home was built in 1917 as an excellent
example of Tudor or “Jacobethan” style of architecture. Alta Sims,
in her guide to the history and architecture of home in the Center
Street Historic District, says, “The steep-sided triangular gables
which rise above the roof distinguish it as do the bay windows which
are enhanced by stone mullions.” The leaded glass windows feature
medallions or figures showing the use of the rooms. The music room,
where the Clark family’s grand piano remains, features muses playing
instruments. Figures in the dining room show English-type waiters
carrying food. Both the dining room and living room have richly
grained oak woodwork and paneling. The living room has a hand-crafted Florentine ceiling and a large Oriental rug, which is said to have been an anniversary gift for Mr. and Mrs. Clark from the employees of the Hess and Clark Co. A large ballroom was on the third floor.
The family moved into the home in 1918, but Marjorie Clark Ingmand said they saw little of their father that year. As head of the Red Cross, he risked his own life to care for flu victims during the great epidemic. The gift of Samaritan Hospital, with the stipulation that no sick person should ever be turned away, is his best known charitable gift.
Born in a log house in 1869 in Perry Township, he was orphaned at age 7 and raised by relatives. At the age of 25, he was working as a salesman for the F.E. Myers and Bro. Co., when he approached Dr. Gilbert Hess, who had a veterinarian hospital and laboratory on Second Street. Bottles of Hess’ stock tonic were gathering dust on the shelves. Clark convinced him that if he would take him in as a partner, he would “go on the road” to sell the stock food and cattle remedies. Clark bought a half interest and went over the dirt roads to ten Ohio counties. With the growth of the company, new buildings and additions were needed. By 1911, 17 years after he bought the buckboard, Hess and Clark employed 250 people and had 30 salesmen on the road.
Clark married his childhood sweetheart, the former Mary Swineford, and the couple had two sons, Donald and H. Marshall, and two daughters, Portia and Marjorie. Clark died in 1942, and Mrs. Clark in 1956. Shortly after her death, the heirs gave the home to be used as the Good Shepherd Nursing Home. At first, partitions were placed in the rooms, and the residents used the living room as a lounge. Later, as the operation expanded, the residents were moved out of the home. Pictures of each room were taken when the home and its contents were given.