L.A. Aqueduct Centennial 2013

Bishop’s Founding Father

Categories: Moments In Eastern Sierra History


Although the settlement of Bishop Creek was originally named for Samuel A. Bishop, most of those who built the town at the turn of the century considered the Reverend Andrew Clark to be the true “Founding Father of Bishop.” Rev. Clark established the first church in the eastern Sierra in 1869 but, unlike the other members of his family, he did not homestead any property. Instead, in 1876 he purchased 40 acres, including a ranch house, from his brother’s widow for $500. This land was on the north side of Main Street in what was to become the heart of Bishop.

Two months later, Andrew and Rachel Clark gave the trustees of Bishop Creek School the first school property, located where the City Hall and Fire Station stand today, for a token fee of $1. When the school eventually became over-crowded, he gave the trustees additional land also for a fee of $1. The High School also stands on land obtained from Andrew Clark.

Over a 40-year period Clark sold properties for the first businesses and for homes in and around Bishop for fees of $10 to $25. He not only established his own Baptist Church but also gave plots of land to the Methodist and Holiness Churches. It is safe to say that no other person handled so many property transactions for the early pioneers.


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