F. Lewis Clark was born in Bangor Maine in 1861, educated at Harvard, and moved to Spokane, Washington Territory in 1884. He made his fortune in milling, mining, real estate, banking and lumber. Lewis was one of Spokane’s leading citizens at the turn of the century. Lewis was tall (6’), dark and very handsome. He had a brilliant mind and a Midas touch; however, he was rather shy and introverted.
Winifred was born in Washington, DC. In 1869, educated in France, and studied music at the Conservatory in Paris. She was an accomplished pianist. Winifred was beautiful beyond words, and reached out to everyone with her great charm and gracious personality.
Lewis and Winifred were married in Spokane in 1892 and were blessed with their only child Theodore (Teddy) in 1895. Teddy was educated at Harvard, married, had two children, and died in Boston in 1949.
Lewis and Winifred built their dream home at 601 7th St. in Spokane and called it “Undercliff”. The home still stands today, is being used as an office building, and is known as “Marycliff”.
Lewis loved to sail and in 1907 he bought a yacht and christened it the “Spokane”. With a crew of 16 and Teddy, he sailed to Europe and represented the United States in the 1907 Summer Regattas. He won several first place awards, but in Germany, he lost to Kaiser Wilhelm and accepted the second place honors. A banquet was given by Kaiser Wilhelm at his Palace in Berlin, and Lewis and Winifred were the guests of honor. That evening, surrounded by Kings, Princes, Heads of State and Royalty from all of Europe, the Kaiser presented two sterling silver cups to Lewis “to grace his wife’s dining room table”. The alcoves in the dining room at Clark House on Hayden Lake were built to display those trophy cups.
After the banquet, the Kaiser invited Lewis and Winifred to his Summer Palace located in a remote, wooded site overlooking Lake Constance at the German-Swiss border. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, wildlife roamed the estate, and there was peace and tranquility.
Lewis returned to the United States, sailed to Boston and hired an architectural firm to return to Germany. With the Kaiser’s permission, a copy of the Palace was drawn. Lewis and Winifred started construction on their new 15,000 square foot home at Hayden Lake. The estate sat on 1400 acres and when completed in 1910, was the largest and most expensive home in all of Idaho.
The Mansion was named Honeysuckle Lodge. The property started at the corner of Prairie Avenue and Government Way, north to Hayden Ave., then south to the lake and followed the south shore of Hayden Lake for approximately 5 miles.
The entrance drive to the Mansion was called Honeysuckle Road and still carries that name today. There were barns, riding stables, carriage houses, tennis courts, greenhouses, guest and workmen’s houses, a putting green, 150 acres of landscaped grounds with exotic plants and trees from all over the world, lighted pathways, yachts and boat houses; the estate even boasted a private zoo with exotic birds and animals. The entire estate was wired for electricity and a complete water system was constructed for the small township. Furnishings from France, crystal chandeliers from Czechoslovakia, Carara marble from Italy, rugs from the Orient, hand painted murals by Zuber of Paris, and slate for the roof from England. No expense was spared. The Masterpiece was complete. Lewis was 49 years old. Winifred was 41.
Three years later, the party was over. Lewis was sick and we now believe that he was dying of cancer. He weighed 135 pounds and was in constant pain. The fortune was all but spent, real estate holdings had lost their value, the mines had stopped producing and Winifred and Lewis were quarreling. Teddy was in his freshman year at Harvard.
Christmas 1913 was spent in Santa Barbara, California. On January 16, 1914, Lewis, his chauffeur, and valet drove Winifred to the train station. The train was scheduled to depart at 11:30 p.m. Lewis kissed Winifred goodbye, left the train and walked to the limousine. He dismissed his chauffeur and valet and walked into the night. He was never heard from again.
Winifred returned to Hayden Lake and waited. In 1922, she auctioned her furnishings and lost her beloved Honeysuckle Lodge. She moved to a small apartment in Spokane. She never remarried. In 1940, twenty-six years after Lewis disappeared, Winifred became ill and left Spokane to be with Teddy and his family in the East. She died ten days after arriving in Boston; her estate was valued at $10,000.
“Clark House on Hayden Lake” was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.