Built in 1896 for F. Lewis Clark, “Undercliff,” as it was known, is a luxurious mansion in the Marycliff-Cliff Park Historic District of Spokane, Washington.
Clark, one of Spokane’s earliest millionaires, made national news when he disappeared into thin air during a trip to Santa Barbara, California. According to SpokaneHistoric.org., “On the evening of January 17th, 1914, F. Lewis Clark and his wife arrived at the train station in Santa Barbara, California. Rather than joining his wife, Clark helped her board the train and left her with a kiss. Telling his chauffeur to meet him in the morning, Clark set off on the mile-long walk down the boardwalk towards his hotel. He was never seen again.”
Clark was born in 1861 to a wealthy family in Bangor, Maine, later attending Harvard, then traveling through Europe, competing in various sailing competitions worldwide.
He eventually settled in Spokane, where he invested in mining, banking, real estate and the largest flour mill in the state. In addition to this Spokane mansion, he also had a house on Hayden Lake.
By the 1910s, he was in failing health and often spent winters in southern California with his wife to escape the cold. The night of his disappearance was filled with pretty typical events, but the next morning, his hat was found on a beach near the wharf between the train station and hotel. The police ruled it a suicide, believing he wanted to end his life on his own terms. But his chauffer reported his mood to be happy the night of he vanished.
A few weeks later, Clark made headlines again after The Los Angeles Examiner published an anonymous letter claiming Clark was being held for ransom. Police investigated, asking for proof that he was alive and unharmed, but never received it, so the search for the blackmailers was dropped.
Fifteen years after his disappearance, a woman stepped forward, claiming to have murdered him for the money he was carrying. The police determined her story was a lie.
During its heyday, Undercliff was the setting for many exclusive social affairs and boasts formal English gardens with red brick paths, a ballroom, billiard room, servants quarters and rich wood detailing.
Converted into offices, the home’s many architectural details have been lovingly to the grandeur of times past.