William Andrews Clark

William Andrews Clark

Infobox Politician
name = William Andrews Clark, Sr.

width = 160px
office = United States Senator
term_start = 1899
term_end = 1901
predecessor = Lee Mantle
successor = Paris Gibson
office2 = United States Senator
term_start2 = 1901
term_end2 = 1907
predecessor2 = Thomas Henry Carter
successor2 = Joseph M. Dixon
birth_date = birth date|1839|1|8|mf=y
birth_place = Connellsville, PA, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|1925|3|2|1839|1|8|mf=y
death_place = New York City, U.S.
party = Democratic
relations =
spouse =
civil partner =
children = William Andrews Clark, Jr.
residence =
occupation = Entrepreneur, politician
religion =

website =
footnotes =

William Andrews Clark, Sr. (January 8, 1839–March 2, 1925) was an American politician and entrepreneur, involved with mining, banking and railroads.


Clark was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. He moved with his family to Iowa in 1856 where he taught school and studied law at Iowa Wesleyan College. After working in quartz mines in Colorado, in 1863, Clark made his way to Montana to find his fortune in the gold rush.

He settled in the capital of Montana Territory, Bannack, Montana, and began placer mining. Though his claim paid only moderately, Clark invested his earnings in becoming a trader, driving mules back and forth between Salt Lake City and the boomtowns of Montana to transport eggs and other basic supplies.

He soon changed careers again and became a banker in Deer Lodge, Montana. He repossessed mining properties when owners defaulted on their loans, placing him in the mining industry. He made a fortune with small smelters, electric power companies, newspapers, railroads and other businesses, becoming known as one of three "Copper Kings" of Butte, Montana, along with Marcus Daly and F. Augustus Heinze. Between 1884 and 1888, Clark constructed a 34-room, Tiffany-decorated, multimillion dollar home with cutting-edge technology in Butte, Montana. This home is now the Copper King Mansion bed-and-breakfast and museum.

Clark served as president of both Montana state constitutional conventions in 1884 and 1889.

Clark yearned to be a statesman and used his newspaper, the "Butte Miner", to push his political ambitions. He became a hero in Helena, Montana, by campaigning for its election as the state capital instead of Anaconda. Clark's long-standing dream of becoming a United States Senator resulted in scandal in 1899 when it was revealed that he bribed members of the Montana State Legislature in return for their votes. At the time, U.S. Senators were chosen by their respective state legislators. The U.S. Senate refused to seat Clark because of the 1899 bribery scheme, but a later senate campaign was successful, and he served a single, undistinguished term from 1901 until 1907.


Clark County, Nevada, and art collection

Clark died at the age of 86 in his mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City, one of the 50 richest Americans ever. His art collection was donated to the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. after his death, greatly enriching that museum's holdings of European as well as American art. The Clark donation also included the construction of a new wing for the Corcoran, known appropriately as the Clark Wing.

The city of Las Vegas was established as a maintenance stop for Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad. The Las Vegas area was organized as Clark County, Nevada, in Clark's honor.

William Andrews Clark, Jr.

Clark's son, William Andrews Clark, Jr., founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, left his library of rare books and manuscripts to the regents of the University of California, Los Angeles. Today, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library specializes in English literature and history from 1641 to 1800, materials related to Oscar Wilde and his associates, and fine printing.

ee also

* Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode
* Mary Andrews Clark Memorial Home -- landmark Los Angeles home for women built by Clark as memorial for his mother


*CongBio|C000454|name=CLARK, William Andrews|inline=1
*cite book | last=Hopkins | first=A.D. | coauthors=Evans, K.J. | title=The First 100 | url=http://www.1st100.com/part1/wclark.html | location=Las Vegas | publisher=Huntington Press | year=2000 | isbn=0929712676
*cite book | last=Klepper | first=Michael | coauthors=Gunther, Robert | title=The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates- A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Presen | location=Secaucus, NJ | publisher=Carol Publishing Group | year=1996 | isbn=0806518006

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