Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fort Worth's Arlington Heights

Where Max Clark finished high school in 1930

Max Edward Clark

Max Edward Clark was born in Indiana in 1914. His family began moving south, following the oil strikes, shortly before Roberta, the youngest Clark, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in December 1920, and the family arrived in Fort Worth, Texas in 1927. Their address in 1928 was 5233 Byers Avenue in the heart of Arlington Heights in Fort Worth--a newly constructed home in an affluent new neighborhood--placing the Clark children in the Arlington Heights schools. The high school at that time was located at 2100 Clover Lane, which is now known as W.C. Stripling Middle School‎. Both Max and younger sister Wilda graduated from high school in 1930 and entered college in Fort Worth--Texas Christian University, about five miles southeast of their home, crossing Camp Bowie and W. Vickery Boulevards.

Early TCU campus, aided by widow of Burk Burnett

The father, Isaac Edward Clark, was an oil operator in Fort Worth, president of his own company called Clarco Oil and Refining Co., which in the late 1920's was one of about six tenants officing on the fifth floor of the Mrs. Dan Waggoner Building at 206 W. 6th Avenue (Sixth at Houston Street).  Clarco followed the rest of the oil industry to wherever the most recent discoveries were made, and it was operating around Abilene, Texas in the 1930's. It went into receivership in 1938, and the receiver started selling off assets to pay debts. The Clark oil operations that remained shared Room 514 with Shaw Audit Company for at least a couple of years after the death of Isaac E. Clark. Max Clark, attorney, and Isaac Clark, oil operator, showed up as a tenant of Room 515 in 1942 while attorneys Richard D. Walker and Maurice Short had Rooms 513-15, and all shared the same telephone number.

A Personnel Security Questionnaire on Max Clark indicates that he was using Room 516 of Dan Waggoner Bldg. in late 1946 as an office while he worked on a temporary basis for the Office of Price Control, shortly after his return from WWII. The Fort Worth city directory shows both the law office and oil operations in that space in 1947 and later. He did not report on the questionnaire that he had filed in 1948 to run for judge in the Court of Criminal Appeals, Second Judicial District, but withdrew in the middle of June. He listed as references attorney Baylor B. Brown, 614 Dan Waggoner Building, and Wayne Weldon, attorney, in Room 713 of the same building.

One block over, at 810 Houston Street, was the other, newer W. T. Waggoner Building which began construction in 1919.

Max enlisted in the Army in March 1941 and was not officially out of the Army until 1950, according to the Biographical Data sheet prepared in 1955 in his FBI file, continuing with the Air Force Reserve as a Major until 1955. While in the military, he had traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Sicily, France and Germany, meeting his Russian wife while he was in Europe. 

In April 1946 Max Clark's name appeared on a military transport manifest of soldiers who sailed from Camp Philip Morris near Le Havre with the 1260th Engineer Combat Battalion. This camp was one of the many "cigarette camps" through which millions of American soldiers passed. His rank was shown as Tec 4, with an MOS of 776 (radio operator), an apparent conflict with the rank of Major shown on the above personnel sheet. His departure point was almost 700 miles away from where his future wife's White Russian family had settled after fleeing the Bolshevik armies, and where her father, Prince Michel Scherbatoff lived when his wife, Princess Gali, died in 1964--23 Boulevard Gambetta, Nice Alpes Maritimes, France.

Max testified he had made a subsequent trip to France to visit his wife's relatives, but immigration records reflect they again sailed from Le Havre, rather than from the south coast of France--on the French liner, S.S. De Grasse, October 7, 1947 with a passport issued to Gali Clark in Philadelphia in July that same year.

One mile away, northeast along Crestline Road, from where Clark lived during his teen years was the River Crest Country Club where, it is entirely possible, the Clark children may have known members of the Phillips family. Max Clark's siblings were:
  •  Wilda E. (born 1915, married Robert J. Ruble, who later became assistant chief airway operations specialist with the CAA), which at that time was located north of the city near Meacham Airport;
  • Rex Edward (born 1918, married Flora Jane Estes, whose father John O. Estes managed a cotton company); and
  • Roberta D. (born 1921, who married Daniel Maurice Short.
Robert J. Ruble worked at the same location as Birge Davis Alexander, the brother-in-law of then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Alexander was the plant engineer at the CAA in 1956.

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