& Clark Bicentennial
descendant visits Louisville
give Science Center event
a sense of the 1800s; movie to open Oct. 4
LOUISVILLE (October 2003) At first impression,
Charles Clark doesnt appear the type to spend his weekends roughing
it the outdoors, hunting wild game or negotiating rapids in an open
by Don Ward
Rather, the self-described paper-pusher for
the U.S. Department of Defense in St. Louis could double for a librarian
or college professor. The 50-year-old man and his wife, Julia, live
with a pet cat.
But during this bicentennial year of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,
Clark is living up to his famous last name by donning re-enactment clothes
and gear to play his great-great-great grandfather, Capt. William Clark
of Louisville. The sixth-generation Clark said his mother is a descendant
of William Clarks sister, Frances, so I get the Clark genes
from both sides, he said.
Clark visited Louisville Sept. 24 to attend the sneak preview showing
of the National Geographic IMAX movie, Lewis and Clark: Great
Journey West, at the Louisville Science Center. The film, which
has been shown in other cities already, opens to the public Oct. 4 at
the Science Center and runs through March 19, 2004.
In it, Capt. Clark and Meriwether Lewis and their men are re-enacted
as they travel west to the Pacific Ocean and back in 1803-06. Narrated
by actor Jeff Bridges, the 42-minute film features sweeping panoramas
of the rugged American West and stunning aerial photography, while depicting
the brutal winters they faced and the life-threatening dangers of traveling
through uncharted Indiana territories.
by Don Ward
with boy at IMAX preview in Louisville.
Charles Clark, who was not dressed in re-enactment attire
during his Sept. 24 visit, says he enjoys playing his famous ancestor
and will return to the area to do so Oct. 16-19 during the Bicentennial
Commemoration and National Signature Event in Clarksville, Ind. He has
played the captain in previous years celebrations, but none as
large as this.
Im very honored to be asked to do this. Fortunately for
me, by playing a captain I dont have to do very much, because
the sergeant does all the work; its very much like the real Army,
Clark has a 58-year-old brother living in New Mexico who also has re-enacted
in the past, but this event was too far for him to travel, so Charles
got the job, he said. The brothers late father, who died in 1971,
used to portray Capt. Clark at various events, as well.
Back then, there wasnt very much going on in the way of
these re-enactment events. This has all sort of become popular in recent
years, Charles said.
For his part, Charles last year was made an honorary citizen of St.
Charles, Mo., credited as the start of the expedition west, although
most recruitment of the crew and preparation for the trip took place
in the Louisville area. St. Charles has a 24-year festival to mark its
Lewis & Clark heritage.
Charles Clark attended the first Bicentennial Signature Event, held
at President Thomas Jeffersons home of Monticello, near Charlottesville,
Va. He said the weather was cold, but he was struck by Jeffersons
precision in design of the home and gardens. To add some authenticity
to his portrayal of Capt. Clark at Monticello, Charles wore a Scottish-made
wool topcoat to pay tribute to Capt. Clarks lineage from Edinburgh,
The Sept. 24 preview at the Science Center featured several re-enactors
and period music, plus songs performed by the New Albany (Ind.) High
School chorus. The Kentucky Bison Co. of Goshen served samples of bison
Charles said he would be viewing the IMAX film for the first time. He
would like to spend more time as a re-enactor on the expedition this
year, but his job wouldnt allow it. Different people will re-enact
the roles during the three-year tour, with only three people staying
with the group the entire time.
Admission to the IMAX Theater, 727 W. Main St., is $8.50 adults,
$7.50 for children ages 2-12 and seniors 60 and older. A combination
ticket, which includes admission to exhibit halls, is $11 adults, $9
for children and seniors.
For more information, call the Science Center at (502) 561-6100
or visit: www.louisvillescience.org.