“He worked harder and
longer and more successfully than any other man to establish the city’s
cultural life and institutions.” This is a quotation from a resolution
of the Cleveland City Council on the 80th birthday of Harold T. Clark,
a Cleveland Heights citizen. It is difficult to choose material for this
brief account from among the many activities of this remarkable man. Mr.
Clark came to Cleveland in 1906 to practice law, after having graduated
from Yale University and the Harvard School of Law. It was not long before
he became a member of the firm Squire, Saunders and Dempsey, and established
a reputation in corporation and probate law.
Mr. Clark had many business interests. He served on the board of directors
of such firms as the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (now part
of First Energy). When he did not participate actively in civic affairs
he was asked to serve in an advisory capacity. An example of this is the
University Circle Development Foundation. It is said that Mr. Clark would
find needs and then find a way to meet the needs. During his lifetime
he helped to distribute many millions dollars from the Leonard C. Hanna
Fund, of which he was the president.
Mr. Clark’s name and work are closely associated with the Museum
of Natural Science and Brookside Park. It is said that he alone saved
the Natural Science Museum during the years of the Depression. He helped
start the group known as the Friends of the Cleveland Zoo. Together with
Mrs. Benjamin Bole, Mr. Clark succeeded in getting the Holden Arboretum
moved to its present location on Sperry Road in Kirtland. Then, too, he
launched a move to preserve the Mentor Marsh for a bird sanctuary and
now a Natural History Landmark.
A personal knowledge of blindness (both his grandfather and his mother
were blind) caused Mr. Clark to devote his time to the Society for the
Blind. He served on the Board of Trustees and as vice president for a
quarter of a century. He worked diligently to get sight-saving and Braille
classes started in the schools.
The tennis stadium in the Heights, where the Davis Cup matches
were held in 1965, bore Mr. Clark’s name brought many fine tennis
matches to the Heights. The stadium was one of his last projects.
The Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Museum
of Art, Karamu, and almost any cultural institution that might be mentioned
in this areas came to the attention of this man who was interested in
the development of cultural institutions and their needs.
The services of this Fairmount Boulevard resident who was
born in Derby, Connecticut on September 4, 1882 made a record that few
men can match. Mr. Clark died May 31, 1965. It could well be said that
his life had been completely dedicated to public service.