George Ripley Clarke

Personal Data

George Ripley Clarke was born on June 30, 1840, in Boston, the son of Calvin Whiting Clarke and his wife, Ann K. Townsend.

He married on October 17, 1865, in Boston, to Ellen Catharine Hall (b. 1839-1840 in Boston; d. 31Jul1909 in Boston), daughter of John W. Hall and his wife, Sarah Ann Priest.

George Clarke died on January 12, 1905, in Boston.


George Ripley Clarke graduated from the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard in 1859 and began practice as an architect in Boston in about 1860.

In about 1866, he joined in partnership with Horatio Floyd Faulkner in the firm of Faulkner and Clarke, with offices at the Studio Building on Tremont at the corner of Bromfield. In about 1870, Morris Dorr joined the partnership and it became Faulkner, Clarke and Dorr. He left the firm in about 1871 and Faulkner and Clarke continued under their previous name.

Faulkner and Clarke’s work included residential, commercial, and ecclesiastical commissions. In 1872, the firm’s plans were chosen in a design competition for the Church of the Messiah (Unitarian) to be built on the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and 23rd Street in Chicago. The firm opened a Chicago office with George Clarke as the resident architect and prepared working drawings for the project. The Church subsequently opted for a different design and refused payment to Faulkner and Clarke. The firm sued for payment and their claim was paid only after the case was reviewed by the US Supreme Court (First Unitarian Society of Chicago v. H. Floyd Faulkner and George R. Clarke; decided December 13, 1875).

The partnership was dissolved on February 1, 1874. H. Floyd Faulkner continued to practice in Boston, but died the next year.

George Clarke remained in Chicago while the firm’s lawsuit with the Church of the Messiah was pending. While there, he became a furniture designer specializing in the Eastlake style.

He returned the Boston by late 1876 and formed a partnership with Edward Dewson as architects and designers of furniture (“art furnishing”) with show rooms at the Studio Building. The partnership ended in about 1877 and George Clarke continued the business alone. In about 1879, he formed George R. Clarke & Co. with Walter M. Lancaster, interior decorators and furniture designers, located at 45 Boylston. The firm was dissolved in January of 1881, and George Clarke again continued to business alone. In 1889, he moved the firm to a newly built building at 56 Boylston. By that time, he had expanded the business to include the manufacture of stained glass. The firm ceased operation soon thereafter.

George Clarke resumed his occupation as an architect and, in April of 1901, was appointed supervising architect of Boston’s public buildings.

Back Bay Work

1869 286-288 Beacon [Faulkner and Clarke]
1869 290 Beacon [Faulkner and Clarke]