In 1856 he joined the police force and by 1887, when he resigned from his position as clerk to the Chief of Police, he is said to have saved some $200,000. He bought seventeen acres at the head of Eureka Valley, and built the mansion known at the time as Clarke's Folly. The four-story cost around $100,000 to build in 1892. The architectural style reflects the frequently eclectic fashion of the day, but may most briefly be described as Baroque-Queen Anne.
By 1904 the building was the California General Hospital, and at a later date it was a rooming house for Standard Oil Company employees; today, it is an apartment house.