postcard, printed in Germany and stamped 1907, shows the cupola and weather
vane which were reconstructed during 1996.
move to Elkhart in 1892, Clark Lane had not been actively engaged
in business affairs but he maintained a keen interest in public affairs.
He was a familiar and picturesque figure on the streets of that Indiana
town. About a week before his death, which occurred on 4 September
1907, he walked five miles, but that night he took ill with typhoid.
He was survived by his son, Jacob, and a daughter, Mrs. Maud E. Jackson,
of Mt. Healthy. The Elkhart newspapers headlined that he had given
away a fortune, in excess of $100,000 during his lifetime, and that
his estate was probably in the $5,000 to $8,000 range.
give away a lot, and especially to the citizens of Hamilton and Butler
County. As the Hamilton Democrat-Sun published in its obituary, ...in
the heyday of his career and fortune he became Hamilton's first public
benefactor. He gave the city Lane Free Library, an institution that
is fostered and cared for by our people and which will ever be a monument
to his name.
body was brought to Hamilton by rail on 6 September 1907 and the funeral
service was held on that date at the library. Interment was in the
Lane lot at Greenwood Cemetery where eight of his children along with
his first wife were buried. The bearers of his pall were Mayor William
F. Thomas, Judge Warren Gard, banker D. W. Fitton, Professor W. P.
Cope, attorney Aaron Wesco and newspaper publisher Walter L. Tobey.
Hamilton's Board of Control proposed erecting a public memorial in
recognition of Clark Lane's contributions to the community. There
consensus on the council. Some members suggested establishing a park
with his name and others proposed commissioning his statue in bronze.
There were still others who advocated that the Lane Free Library receive
liberal public appropriations from the council in order
that it might be enlarged and that its store of books might be built
up into the finest and most useful collection owned by any Ohio
city of Hamilton's size.
of Control, not being of one mind, forwarded its suggestions to Clark
Lane for his preference. His response, in a letter dated 27 January
1899 made it clear that he indeed did have a preference. As far as
a bronze statue went, the one-time blacksmith wanted nothing to do
with cold brass which, in his words, would be and forever
remain cold. As to parks, he noted that Hamilton already had two beautiful
parks and others would undoubtedly be developed as needed.
he wrote that he wished to see the library grow and prosper. His words
merit quoting today, nearly 98 years after they were written. How-beit
good books free to all, and comfortable place or places wherein to
enjoy the same are not only a joy forever, but are also a powerful
factor in the 'git-up' of the best type of humanity. Placing it mildly
at least one economic feature of my life has been the placing of money
where I believed the same would last longest and be of most real benefit
to my fellowman.
written at the end of the nineteenth century continue to ring true
today as we approach the eve of the twenty-first century. Concerning
the Lane Free Library's improvement he corresponded and exhorted,
So let it be done. Let it be done by the people for all of the
people now, as well as for coming generations of the new century soon
to be born, and my cup of pleasure.
Clark Lane participated in building the first successful reaper in
the Old Northwest. As a young man he was instrumental in founding
the Owens, Lane, & and Dyer foundry and machine works which is
believed to be the genesis of all future foundry and metal trades
manufacturing in Hamilton. During the Civil War it was the community's