the 16 years Clark Lane was living outside Mt. Healthy, he maintained
property in Elkhart which he frequently visited. He was prominently
identified with the early development of Elkhart's water power, being
one of the constructors and original stockholders of the
St. Joseph hydraulic. After first moving to northern Indiana in 1875
he built the Elkhart river dam, the first permanent dam on the river,
and its hydraulics. He helped secure for the community three paper
mills, all of which were still operating at the time of his death
libraries in Elkhart benefited from Clark Lane's generosity, namely
the Elkhart school library and the library of the Congregational church
which received reading materials. The latter library collection was
subsequently given to the Carnegie Library in Elkhart.
On 2 January
1894, Clark Lane remarried. His second wife was Mrs. Augusta Swift
Wood, who appears to have been rather well connected. Her father's
brother was a celebrated astronomer and her father's sister was a
well-known artist in Rochester, New York. She was, however, not a
particularly healthy person and died three years after their marriage.
next-to-last trip home to Hamilton was on 5 April 1905, his 82nd birthday.
The focal point of his visit was a reception being held in his honor
at the Lane Free Library that evening. It was estimated that 600 people
visited the library during the evening to pay respects to one of the
community's greatest benefactors. The library had just grown with
the acquisition of some adjoining property and the completion of a
large addition, which was the north wing. There were addresses from
Library Board Chairman C. E. Schenk, public school superintendent
Darrell C. Joyce and high school principal Professor W. P. Cope. The
highlight of the evening was the presentation to Clark Lane with a
sterling silver loving cup, lined in gold, that read on one side,
CLARK LANE. From the citizens of Hamilton as an appreciation
of his gift to our city of Lane Free Library. April 5, 1905.
had many meetings with the old boys while he was back
in town. Adam Laurie was one of those who shook his hand that evening
as was 85-year-old James Elrick who built his former house across
the street, and presumably also the library. Elrick related this earlier
Lane had stated that he must have a certain well at this new home
of his made three feet deeper. I went to Cincinnati one day and returning
Mr. Lane said to me. Well, Jimmy, I have made that well three
feet deeper, as I wanted.
that so? How'd you do it, Clark, said I. Well, I'll
tell you, said he. I found it would be an awful job
to dig it any deeper, so I just built it up three feet more on the
of how Hamilton acquired the library differ. William E. Smith's account
that appeared in his History of Southwestern Ohio follows: In
1866 Clark Lane, wealthy manufacturer, after vainly offering $10,000
to the city to build a library, built one himself and placed a member
of his family [his niece Miss Emma Lane] in charge of the reading
room. Convinced that a library was essential to saving the young from
ignorance and deterioration of morals, he supported his library for
a year before offering it to the city. At a special election Lane's
offer was accepted 446 to 276.
Lane Library became a public library and in 1879 a circulating library.
While the Hamilton newspapers all noted that 712 male citizens voted
in the special election, one paper account written at the time of
Clark Lane's death had the vote as 656 favorable and only 66 opposed.
That account was certainly in error. A Hamilton paper reported just
after the election, Strange as it may seem, most violent opposition
was made to the proposition in all quarters of the city and it was
feared throughout the day that its defeat was certain. Some
feared a heavy tax being imposed to maintain the library, others opposed
it on political grounds or erroneously believed that Clark Lane would
somehow gain financially from his gift to the community.