John and Lolly had a dream…
A short history of the Solarium International written by John Clark, himself!
In 1977, John and Lolly Clarke had a dream. They wanted to build a home/studio for their growing family and burgeoning photography business. The next two years consisted of finding and buying suitable property, designing the building and finally the construction.
The property they selected was a 1.5 acre site on East Stuart Street with Spring Creek flowing through the north portion of the land. At the time, the stream looked more like a steep-sided irrigation ditch but a month of digging and moving dirt created a yard that allowed access to the water. They built a bridge that provided access to the north portion of the land.
Lolly designed the house and they had a draftsman create construction documents. They broke ground in the late summer of 1978. Construction continued throughout the winter and into the spring of 1979. John was the general contractor and with the help of some hard working builders — Harold Miller, Don and Dick Sampson — the building was completed, inspected and ready for occupancy on July 31, 1979.
At first, what is now the atrium was not covered but the structure was reinforced so it could be added later. After 3 years, the green house roof and north wall were added and the atrium was created. John and Lolly found inspiration for that part of the building at the atrium dining room at LaFonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
They became well known for their photography and were in demand as workshop instructors and convention platform speakers. They have made presentations to photographic organizations in 38 states and Canada.
The atrium and grounds continue to be well maintained under new ownership and enjoyed by guests from all over the world.