As he reaches his 75th birthday this week, F. Ambrose Clark—horseman, farmer and owner of 5,000-acre Iroquois Farm above the Susquehanna Valley at Cooperstown, N.Y.—may happily reminisce on a life which has been described as America's only counterpart of a wealthy, generous and beloved English squire. A leading amateur steeplechase rider in his youth, Clark has led the life of a horseman for 58 years. Now, however, when not at the races, he gains most of his pleasure from driving peacefully around his farm, which in addition to housing one of the last great private collections of carriages, serves as a home for former Clark thoroughbreds and as a perfect farm site for the Iroquois herd of Herefords, Yorkshire pigs and purebred Shropshire sheep. Contemplating the busy state of affairs at Iroquois today, Clark says, "They call this place self-supporting. Well, it costs me a great deal of money to support it. Gentleman farmers don't make any money, although some say they do."
Main stables, neighboring the Clark mansion, once housed some top names in American racing history, is still maintained in spotless condition.
Ambrose clark at one favorite noontime diversion. "Confound it," he said, "champagne is good any time."
MR. AND MRS. CLARK AND GUESTS DRIVE OFF IN A BRONSON WAGON MADE BY BREWSTER OVER 50 YEARS AGO
July 31, 1955
Thoroughbreds which once carried the blue and yellow Clark racing colors now enjoy a more relaxing existence on Iroquois Farm's 5,000 acres of rolling and fertile countryside above the picturesque New York Susquehanna Valley.
Carriage house, built in 1901, contains Clark's priceless collection of wagons. Inside are several tack rooms and special stable for his standard-bred harness horses.
Blacksmith George Jackson, surrounded by varnished woodwork and freshly laid straw, works on the shoes of a Clark harness horse. Rubber under the shoe is changed daily to stand the wear and tear of driving long hours over Cooperstown's hard roads.
Harness room holds one of the world's foremost collections of driving equipment. Literally unavailable today, one pair of harnesses would cost $1,000 to replace in England. Other end of room contains eases for bits, extra buckles and kidney links.
Famous carriages, some built before 1900, stand waiting to be admired—or driven. Collection includes country brougham, spider phaeton, show gig, Irish sidecar and wagonette break. Mr. Clark drives them all equally well.
At morning exercise two harness horses not required for driving are led around a mist-shrouded paddock by Stable Hands Melvin Howe and Conny Quinn.