For Mining Tycoon Patsy Clark, Success Started with a Long Walk

By Clark, Doug | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), December 18, 2014 | Go to article overview

For Mining Tycoon Patsy Clark, Success Started with a Long Walk


Clark, Doug, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


You can speculate until the crows fly home as to how a flat- broke, uneducated Irish bloke like Patsy Clark came to America and wound up owning gold mines and living in Spokane's best-looking mansion.

That said, John Richards believes one telling glimpse into the historic figure's superhuman drive to succeed can be seen in something he did long before striking it rich.

The year was 1876. Clark was laboring at a mine in Utah.

Mining tycoon Marcus Daly, who had taken a liking to Clark, told him a job was waiting for him in Butte.

All the young man had to do is get there.

And so Clark, likely joined by his brother, started walking.

That's right. For a better opportunity they walked all the way from Utah to Montana.

I know people today who won't drive downtown because getting there is such an ordeal.

Richards, a longtime friend, has become an authority on Patsy Clark - and not just because the mining magnate was his great- grandpa.

Wanting to learn more about his famous family member, the retired banker spent a year researching the man.

Richards and his wife, Mary, also traveled to some Patsy Clark points of interest like Butte, Republic, North Idaho's Silver Valley and Rossland, B.C.

The result is found in "Patsy Clark, Mining Pioneer" - a fascinating, fact-filled booklet that was published last week through The Westerners, a Spokane history club.

The 50-page work is a prelude to "The Life and Times of Patsy Clark." That's the working title the 69-year-old author has given a full-length book that he plans to finish next year.

Which, by the way, will be the centennial of Patsy's death.

Perhaps due to the strong surname, I've always had a keen interest in Patsy Clark. But I see this stocky figure with the handlebar mustache as one of my hometown's most intriguing characters.

Plus, I got to portray Ol' Patsy one weekend during a Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture-sponsored Christmas tour of the Campbell House.

I really got into the part, donning a vintage suit, gold watch and chain and fake mustache.

My quest for realism ended when I was threatened with expulsion for firing up a fat cigar. I tried to tell the museum people how much Patsy liked stogies, but the fools wouldn't listen.

Critics. Who needs them?

Then there was the all-nighter I spent with a group of ghost hunters inside Patsy Clark's opulent, yet supposedly haunted, Browne's Addition manor. (For the record, I never saw any sign of spirits, although the psychics, like always, sure did.)

This happened before the restored mansion, 2208 W. Second Ave., was haunted by lawyers.

It was a popular upscale restaurant for 20 years. …

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