Biography of George A. Clark

George A. Clark, the leading hotel keeper of Rifle, where he owns and conducts a house that pleases the commercial tourists and the general public in its appointments and the manner in which its accommodations are served, is a native of Hartford county, Connecticut, where he was born on October 11, 1844. His education was secured by a limited attendance at the public schools and a term or two at Lewis Academy. At the age of fourteen he went to work in a shoe store, and from that time until 1865 he was so occupied in his native state and Wisconsin, during a portion of the time being also a clerk in a mercantile house. In 1865 he moved to Marquette, on the shore of Lake Superior, where he was variously employed until 1871, when he returned to his Connecticut home, and after remaining there for a number of months came to Colorado in 1872. He made a short stay at Denver, then moved to Fairplay where he and A.B. Crook started a mercantile business which they conducted until 1876, meeting with good success. In the year last named Mr. Clark opened the first hotel with hot springs bathhouse attached that was ever conducted in this part of the country. In the spring of 1878 he changed his residence to Leadville and soon afterward to Malta. Here he engaged in merchandising and the livery business, and in connection therewith conducted the post office and for nine years served as justice of the peace. In 1887 he sold out his interests at Malta and moved to the Rifle valley, where he purchased the improvements on the one hundred and sixty acres of land which he still owns. When he settled here the country was also wholly undeveloped, there being few roads and no bridges, the settlers being obliged to ford the river when they wished to cross. Of his ranch one hundred acres are tillable and produce abundant crops of hay, grain, vegetables and fruit, hay and cattle, however, being the chief resources of revenue thereon. Since 1895 Mr. Clark has been a hotel keeper and the most prominent and successful one in the town of Rifle, showing in his business a skill in management and a suavity of manner that make him and his house universally popular. In political faith he is an unwavering Republican, and in fraternal life belongs to the Elks and the Eagles. He is the son of George and Henrietta N. (Cowles) Clark, the former of Scotch and the latter of English descent. The father was a blacksmith and machinist and also a farmer. He supported the Republican party with ardor and pushed his business with vigor and successful enterprise. He died in 1880, having for a year outlived his wife, who passed away in 1879. They had a family of ten children, four of whom are living, Josephine, at Denver, Mrs. A.B. Clark, at Fairplay, George A., at Rifle, all in Colorado, and Edward A., at St. Louis, Missouri. Of the other six four died in infancy and Frederick A. and John in later life. George was married on April 29, 1874, to Miss Minnie Norman, a native of Chillicothe, Missouri. Mr. Clark is highly esteemed as a man of liberality, public-spirit and enterprise who has been a potent factor in promoting the growth and development of his county and community, and as a genial and companionable citizen.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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