Set in Stone: Clark Place

Built to last ‘Clark Place’ standing since 1876

By Cynthia Scheer
Telescope News
www.thebellevilletelescope.com

Paul Clark was born on the kitchen table of a two-story stone house in rural Courtland. The stone house was his home for the next 19 years.

“It was a real good life,” Clark says of growing up on the farm about two miles south of Courtland.

The 87-year-old Topeka man is now researching his family history, more than a century of which takes place in Republic County. His research, he said, has uncovered the fact that the Republic County farmstead often referred to as “The Clark Place” should really be named “The Glasgow Place.”

From the beginning…
The Clark Place was originally homesteaded during the Civil War by an unknown man who built a dugout in the northwest corner of the property. That man, whose name Clark said he is unable to find, failed to make improvements on the property and lost the homestead.

In 1875 John Taylor Glasgow and his wife, Avada, “picked up” the homestead, Clark said. The Glasgows came to the area in a covered wagon.

In 1876 the Glasgows, whom Clark said were well-educated, built a two-story, four-room limestone home from rock quarried a half-mile north of the house. The walls were more than a foot thick, Clark said.

“You could sit in the windowsills; the stone was that wide,” he said of his childhood home, which featured a white picket fence for decades.

By 1910 the Glasgows had built a wooden addition onto the home. The lumber was hauled from Nebraska by a team of horses and wagon. That wooden addition was later removed by the late Glendwood Lundberg, who purchased the property in the early 1970’s, Clark said.

The stone house had a full basement, two rooms downstairs, and two rooms upstairs. There was a steep slope to the roof, said Clark, who slept in the upstairs east bedroom and the upstairs rooms had slanted ceilings.

Clarks take over
Clark’s father, Earl, was an honorary Glasgow, he said.

“He was always called ‘the little Glasgow,” Clark said of his “short” father, who was born in 1891 in Missouri. Locals used to think Earl Clark was relation to the Glasgows, Clark said, but he wasn’t. Earl Clark was living in Topeka when he was “taken in” by the Glasgows when he was about eight years old, Clark said.

“We thought maybe the Glasgows knew the Clarks,” Clark said, adding that his father was never adopted by the Glasgows, yet they raised him as their own son.

When J.T. Glasgow became sick in 1918, Clark said, Earl Clark returned to the farm and took over. He remained on the farm until the late 1950’s when he moved to Courtland. He died in 1961.

The house sat empty until the early 1970’s when Clark said the property was sold to Lundberg. Lundberg may have lived in a trailer house and used the stone house as storage, Clark said.

Brian Freeman bought the property last fall and said he has no immediate plans to do anything with the stone house.

“I’d like to be able to save it, but [the house is] pretty far gone,” he said. “I’d like to preserve what we can. Maybe we will be able to repurpose the stones someday.”

If anyone knows further information or stories about this house or other limestone landmarks in Republic County, call 785-527- 2244 or email cynthiasue@huskers.unl.edu.