Dr. Carl Clark

Dr. Carl ‘Doc’ Sheridan McKinley Clark

March 13, 1905 – September 30, 1985


© Christy Porter

Dr. Clark or ‘Doc’ was an avid hiker and square dancer.  He was born and raised in Oklahoma where his father was in banking and then a postmaster.  He went to Oklahoma State University for his undergraduate studies.  He then did graduate studies at the University of California and the University of Wisconsin.  In high school he won the state Banker’s scholarship and had the best grades of any boy in the state of Oklahoma. 

Doc moved to Kentucky where he was an associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky.  He was extremely involved in the local Lexington community, but what makes him an arch hunter is his exploration of the Gorge in those early years.  Robert Ruchhoft names him along with Clarence Henson as people who had been searching the gorge for over thirty years, through the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. 

He was involved in the Natural Bridge State Park Association that helped develop and guide the state park in its early years.  He was the vice-president of this organization at one point.  He was the chairman of a committee for discussing improvements that were needed at the new state park.  As chairman, he sent off several of the committee’s ideas to the state, including the idea to create a lake, which lies below Hemlock Lodge on the Middle Fork of the Red River today.  He also helped establish Raven Run Sanctuary.

In 1968, he had presented to a local club, showing off slides of the Red River Gorge.  He noted that so many people visit Natural Bridge, but do not realize that there are more than thirty other natural arches in the Gorge.  He documented many of the arches in the Gorge that we know of today.  His most famous arch that he found, was Gray’s Arch, which now has a trail and is highly visited yearly.



Staff. (1968, February 26). Pilot Club Hears Dr. Carl Clark. The Lexington Leader, p. 18.

Staff. (1958, June 28). Park Will Honor Dr. Carl Clark. The Lexington Herald, p. 5.

Staff. (1950, May 29). Co-Op Officers Elected Today. The Lexington Leader, p. 12.

Staff. (1954, October 25). Former Gov. Flem Sampson Is Speaker As Natural Bridge Group Ends Meeting. The Lexington Herald, p. 13.

Jeffrey Marx. (1983, March 12). Retired prof will turn 78 on the move. Lexington Herald-Leader, pp. B1–B2.

Staff. (1946, September 16). Carl Clark To Spend Year In Wisconsin. The Lexington Leader, p. 2.

Jennifer Hewlett. (1985, October 2). Carl 'Doc' Clark, preservationist, professor, dies. Lexington Herald-Leader, p. C7.

Jennifer Hewlett. (1985, October 2). Carl 'Doc' Clark, preservationist, dies. Lexington Herald-Leader, pp. B1-B2.

Staff. (1985, October 4). Preservationist Carl 'Doc' Clark dies in Lexington. The Courier-Journal, p. B5.

Staff. (1924, February 22). Points of Interest, By Co. Agent, Mark. Ellis County Capital, p. 1.