710 West Adams Boulevard


  • Completed in 1904 for J. Ross and Miriam Clark on part of Lot 1 in Block 22 of Hancock's Survey as the second 710 West Adams
  • Architects: Hunt & Eager (Sumner P. Hunt and Wesley Eager)
  • J. Ross Clark was the younger brother of bumptious Montana copper king and crooked U.S. senator William Andrews Clark; uncle of William Andrews Clark Jr., founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic who also built the well-known private library at 2205 West Adams named for his father; and uncle of New York and Santa Barbara eccentric—eccentric especially when it came to houses—Huguette Clark. The Clarks were rich enough to seem not to care too much that their most-well-known relative's reputation for crudeness and flamboyance or that their own peculiarities kept them out of the best circles of East Coast society; they were citizens of America rather than of just one coast or the other. J. Ross Clark was prominent and indefatigably industrious in his own right in Southern California; a big house was in order. In late 1901, he bought a 142-by-360-foot lot and its rose-covered cottage from leather-goods manufacturer Samuel B. Lewis, who had been living on the property in the first 710 West Adams for a decade. The sale, technically made to Clark's wife Miriam, was reported in the Los Angeles Herald on December 6, 1901. Lewis retained the west 100 feet of his original Adams frontage to form a new lot on which, by March 1902, he had plans to build a big new Colonial house to the design of Hudson & Munsell, which would be addressed 718 West Adams Street 

The exact build date of the original 710 West Adams Street is uncertain; seeming clearly to predate
S. B. Lewis's move into it in 1892—vintage 1870s is likely—the house had been occupied

by Michigan physician Stephen Munroe prior to his death in December 1890.

  • By early 1903, J. Ross Clark had commissioned Hunt & Eager to design his second, much grander 710 West Adams; the architects came up with a fashionable English design to replace Lewis's original cottage. By now a relic of the district's exurban past, the cottage was apparently demolished rather than moved to make way for the new house. On June 26, 1904, the Los Angeles Herald reported that the Clarks had just moved in their new residence. There, nine years later, the Ross Clark family acquired its particular share of notoriety after their son Walter went down on the Titanic. Walter's wife Virginia, who survived, remarried too soon after becoming a widow for the tastes of her former in-laws, who tussled with her for custody of their grandchild for years while living at 710. J. Ross Clark II did not grow up to be a happy man, marrying several times. After pleading guilty to a drunk-driving charge in March 1941—he was nearly 31—Clark was ordered by a judge to be placed in the custody of his grandmother, who was still living at 710 West Adams (he would die in 1962 at the age of 51)
  • It should be noted that the firm of Hunt & Eager became specialists in the fashionable English style in which they had rendered Clark's 710 West Adams. Similarly detailed would be William G. Kerckohoff's 734 West Adams, completed two doors to the west in 1908. A construction permit for the firm's also-similar 3200 Wilshire Boulevard for industrialist William G. Lacy was issued just three days before that of 734 West Adams; by the time the Kerckhoff house was finished, Silas R. Burns Jr. had joined its busy architects, the new firm of Hunt, Eager & Burns proceeding to design English residences for attorney Henry O'Melveny at 3250 Wilshire Boulevard and for automobile pioneer Reuben Shettler at 3100 Wilshire—this last house and Clark's 710 the only two of the five to have been lost to demolition, Kerckhoff's remaining on Adams and the O'Melveny and Lacy residences sitting comfortably today on Plymouth Boulevard in Windsor Square)

The view across the wide entrance hall and
into the parlor, below, of the new 710 West Adams, as
seen in the Inland Architect and News Record.

  • J. Ross Clark I had died in Los Angeles on September 18, 1927; the Times eulogized him this way: "In the thinning ranks of the giants who planned and started the greater Southern California of today the place once occupied by J. Ross clark may never perhaps be so capably filled again." Miriam Evans Clark died in her long-time home on January 13, 1951. She left 710, less its contents, to U.S.C. in memory of her husband; it became a venue of the university's music school, which remained until not long before a permit for the house's demolition was issued by the Department of Building and Safety on June 12, 1975. The site is now a parking lot

With U.S.C. preparing 710 West Adams for conversion into its music
school, an auction of the contents of the Clark house was
held on Thanksgiving weekend in 1951.

Big West Adams houses often appeared in silent film; here,
comedian Harry Langdon is seen running out of 710 in 1925's
There He Goes, the butler in pursuit. The opposite view is toward
the gates of Chester Place across Adams Street (as the Boulevard
was then designated), as seen in the film still below. The nearly
140-year-old gates of Chester Place remain, while the elaborate
fencing of 710 was destroyed along with the house in 1975.

Illustrations: Private Collection; USCDLHathiTrust; LAT; John Bengtson/Silent Locations