CLARK GABLE PLACES
Author: Chrys Spicer
Note: Author Chrys Spicer has done extensive research on Clark Gable. He is sharing with us a detailed account of Clark's early family homes from 1901 to 1936. Many thanks!
Clark’s father was William Gable. His grandparents were Charles and Nancy
Gable whose 170 acre Pennsylvania farm was at what is now known as Gable Hill,
just outside Vernon Township on Highway 322 between Meadville and Conneaut Lake.
The land has since been subdivided and the farm buildings have gone but they
were probably near the Vernon Fire Hall.
Charles died in 1898 and Nancy in 1927 and they are buried in the
Greendale Cemetery in Meadville.
In 1864 Charles and his brother John purchased the Sherwood Hotel on the
corner of Arch and Water Streets in Meadville and operated it as the 30-room
Gable House hotel from 1865 until 1899. Although sold to different owners
the hotel continued to be known as The Gable House, or New Gable House after
1912. It was closed in 1972 and demolished in 1981 to make way for a new
Meadville Post Office.
Clark’s mother was Adeline, or Addie, Hershelman. Her parents John and
Rosetta and their six children lived on a farm west of Meadville near Vernon.
Cadiz, Ohio (1900-1901)
William Gable was an oil-driller and he and Addie moved to Cadiz as he
followed the oil wells. The first apartment they moved into was on the opposite
side of Charleston Street to the house in which Clark was eventually born. His
birth took place in the front bedroom of their top floor apartment in the white
timber house across the street that was later demolished in the 1960’s and then
re-constructed to form the current Gable Birthplace Museum, 138 Charleston,
opened in 1998..
Shortly after Clark was born, the Gables moved to another house in Lincoln
Clark was christened on July 31, 1901, in the Immaculate Conception
Catholic Church at 206 North East Street, Dennison, Ohio, the closest
Catholic church to Cadiz.
Vernon, Pa. (1901-3)
When Addie became too ill, William moved her and Clark back to her parent’s
farm where she died in November, 1901.
Addie is buried in the Chestnut Corners Cemetery, now known as St
Peters Cemetery, just outside of Harmonsburg, Pa, on Agnew and Porter
Roads. Her grave was left unmarked for many years because William couldn’t
afford a headstone at the time. Eventually Clark paid for one in spring of 1935,
but the stonemason carved her year of death incorrectly as 1900. Her parents
John and Rosetta are also in this cemetery.
After Addie’s death, Clark stayed briefly with Addie’s sister Josephine and
then went to live with one of William’s brothers and his wife. Opinion is
divided as to which one. William said later it was Tom and his wife Elizabeth.
Clark’s first cousin Charles said it was his mother and father, Charles and
Elizabeth Hershelman at their farm on DeNoon Road in Vernon Township.
Hopedale, Ohio. (1903-17)
William returned to Hopedale where he eventually met and married Jennie
Dunlap. In 1903 he returned to Pennsylvania for Clark and brought him back to
live with the Dunlap family in Church St, Hopedale.
In 1907 William purchased land in Mill Street and started building a
two-storey timber house into which he moved his family in 1910. They lived there
until 1917. The house is still standing and looks virtually the same as when the
Gables lived there.
Clark attended the Hopedale schoolhouse, then Grammar and High
School in the school building situated on the crest of the hill behind their
house, and he went with his family to the Hopedale Methodist Church across the
street from the Dunlap home where his father was a Sunday School
Yale (near Ravenna), Ohio.(1917-20)
In late 1917, the Gables moved to a farm on Route 125, Yale, now Alliance
Road, Palmyra. The house is a little altered but still very recognizable and so
is the big red barn where Clark used to stable the horse on which he rode to
For a short time he attended Edinburg High School.
Hopedale, Ohio. (1917-18)
Clark did not like life on the farm though and returned to stay with the
Dunlaps in Hopedale from December to April.
Yale, Ohio. (1918)
Clark returned to the farm over summer
Akron, Ohio. (1918)
In September Clark moved to Akron with his friend Andy Means to find work. He
moved in with the Williamson family at 1163 Getz Street and found work in
the office of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. rim plant at Sweitzer and
Miller. He then moved around the corner to 24 Steiner Ave to live with
the Grether family.
Lewis Grether was a pharmacist at the Haun Drug Store at the corner of
Main and Miller and Clark would often spend time there.
In 1919 he went to work for Miller Tire and Rubber on High Street near
Cole Avenue, probably in their time-keeping office. When Clark left Miller he
worked for Simon Kittle at the nearby men’s clothing store of Gates and
Kittle selling shirts and ties.
He saw his first plays at the Akron Music Hall at High and Exchange
streets, now the site of the Akron Beacon-Journal office, and aspired to be an
In 1920, Jennie Dunlap died and William Gable sold the farm. Jennie was
buried back in the Palmyra Cemetery. Although William’s name is on the
headstone, he was never interred there.
Bigheart, Oklahoma (now Barnsdall). (1921)
Clark followed his father down to Bigheart and worked there sharpening bits
on their oil drill, then as a mechanic, a sales assistant, a book-keeper for
Curtis and Brown haberdashery, and then cleaning stills in an oil refinery.
Meadville. (January, 1922)
Returns briefly to collect an inheritance.
Kansas City, Kansas. (1922)
Joins travelling theater troupe.
Butte, Montana. (1922)
Troupe becomes snowed-in and goes separate ways. Clark jumps a freight train.
Bend, Oregon. (Spring, 1922)
Works for lumber company.
Portland, Oregon. (Spring into Summer, 1922)
Works in Meir and Franks department store selling ties.
Joins the Red Lantern Players, also known as the Astoria Players.
Players depart on a tour along the Columbia River.
Astoria, Oregon. (July, 1922)
Players reach Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River and perform at the
Astoria Liberty Hall Theater. They stay at the Weinhart Hotel. Both these
buildings were destroyed by fire later that year.
Seaside, Oregon.(Summer, 1922)
A number of the players, including Clark, stay with the Schumann family in
Seaside for a few days..
Silverton, Oregon (Fall, 1922 – January, 1923)
Players return to Portland and disband. Clark goes to stay with the family of
his girlfriend, Franz Dorfler (Frances Doerfler), on the Doerfler farm eight
miles south of Silverton on Doerfler Road.
In October he and Fritz Doerfler travel to Brighton to help build a logging
railroad on Haloff Creek.
In November he moves to Mrs Charity Scott’s Cottage Hotel on Main Street,
Silverton, while he works through January for the Silver Falls Timber Company on
Mill Street near the Mark Twain School.
Portland, Oregon. (1923-24)
Clark returns to Portland in January and finds work in the Classified
Advertising Department of The Oregonian newspaper. He joins Josephine Dillon’s
acting studio at the Little Theater and they eventually become close as she
becomes his acting coach.
Los Angeles She moves to Los Angeles, intent on getting Clark into films, and
finds them a cottage on the same street in which actor Tom Mix lives. Clark
arrives later and lives in a nearby hotel until they marry on December 18, 1924.
They separate in mid-1926 and Clark moves out. They divorce April 1, 1930.
Houston, Texas. (1927)
In mid-1927 Clark moves to Houston for a long-running stage engagement and
remains there for some months.
New York, New York. (1928-29)
Clark returns to New York for more stage engagements and meets Ria Langham
who has an apartment on 81st and Park Avenue. They become close and Clark
moves in after they marry probably on April 3, 1930.
Los Angeles. (1930-31)
Clark returns to Los Angeles to star in the stage play “The Last Mile” and
Ria follows him. They move into an apartment in the Ravenswood Apartments
at 570 North Rossmore Ave, Hollywood.
However, their New York marriage is apparently not recognized in California
for some reason and they marry again there on June 19, 1931. They then move into
a house on the east side of San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills, situated
just behind Pickfair and next door to Frederick March. It was a white, two-story
colonial with long porch, green shutters and a wide lawn. .
San Francisco. (March, 1933)
Clark and Ria stay at the Clift Hotel.
Portland, Oregon. (June 6, 1933)
Clark and Ria stay at the Multnomah (Falls) Hotel alongside the Columbia
WeAskU Inn, on the Rogue River, Grants Pass, Oregon. (June, 1933)
This was Clark’s favorite fishing lodge and he came here often throughout his
life for the fly fishing and just to get away from the world. Built in 1924
downstream from the Savage Rapids Dam, it had been purchased by William and
Peggy Gibson in 1927 and over the years Clark became like a brother to their
three daughters. It has recently been restored and is once again operating as a
Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.
Clark’s hospital of choice.
Beverly Wiltshire Hotel.
Clark’s hotel of choice..When Clark and Ria separate on November 14, 1935,
Clark moves into the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel where he is still living
when he meets Carole Lombard at the Black and White Ball in January, 1936. Clark
would continue to stay there whenever he was in-between residences or women, and