Clark Drive

While it’s possible that Clark Drive, named in 1923, was designed as an extension of WeHo’s Clark Street and thus might honor Eli P. Clark, I feel it’s more likely named after Percy Herman Clark (1860-1925), the real estate agent who inspired Beverly Hills founder Burton E. Green to transform theĀ Hammel and Denker ranch into a ritzy residential community. In fact the Los Angeles Times, where Clark’s death made the front page, eulogized him as the true visionary behind Beverly Hills. Years later, Green would take credit for coming up with the “Beverly” name, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Percy Clark who really coined it. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Michigan, Clark came to L.A. in 1890 and ran a lumber business before turning to real estate. He would eventually be known for his own substantial holdings in Kern County. Clark lived in West Adams, which was then the poshest neighborhood in L.A. It’s been said that he meant to relocate to Beverly Hills but his wife Hattie wouldn’t let him.