Just starting some of these pages and will fill in with much more. For now here's an excerpt from an article on a house that we knew as the "Hesse House", Art of Deception written by Lisa Reicosky in the September 2009 issue of About of the Canton Repository. If that link fails I've also backed up the full article here:
The architect of the home, Arthur Compton Marks, known as “Marko” was a colorful Canton businessman who lived on Lake Cable in Jackson Township and designed here in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Repository columnist Jim Hillibish reminisced about him in 2005:
“Marko was on a different planet. His playground was the 22nd century. He was like his ideas, big and in your face. He thought in bursts. Listeners felt like a racquetball wall.
“Marko was an architect. I called him a futurist in a story, and it stuck. We didn’t have many folks here thinking ahead in the 1970s. Marko more than made up for that.
“His concepts were pure science fiction. People in his drawings looked like the Jetsons; cars parked out front had rocket nozzles.
He built a fire station at Lake Cable that looked like a flying saucer. His office buildings recalled Capt. Nemo’s Nautilus submarine — standing on end.”
Hillibish went on to talk about the Stark County district Library Building on Market Avenue N, designed by Marks:
“When visitors ask me where our library is, I say, ‘Look for the snowdrift building.’ He built it with an array of solar panels on the roof. They failed. [sic - Weren't as efficient as claimed by the manufacturer, perhaps?]
“The white stucco soon leaked. The parking deck leaked, even though it was covered. [sic - There was no stucco on the library. It was concrete.] The building eventually needed a reconstruction [sic - renovation and addition after many years].
“Still, it’s Marko throughout. I love it. It’s a breath of fresh air, rather, a hurricane of one. I feel his presence there.”
M.J. Albacete, Director of the Canton Museum of Art, knew him personally, as well. He adds a medical building at the intersection of Market Avenue N and Easton Street, as a Marks design readers may recognize.
On Marko, he said:
“I can tell you that he was bigger than life, a man of great passion and intensity, kind of like a hand-grenade with the pin removed. I often said he wasn't going to die, he was going to explode! He loved Spanish food (had a Spanish wife), wines, and cheap cigars.”
Marks passed away in year 1991.
In the above Lisa Reicosky quoted Hilibish from an older article in the Canton Repository:
March 26, 2005
Section: Rep Columnists
Our phone rang at 12:13 a.m. Wednesday. As I crawled out of bed, I remembered Marko. If it were Arthur Compton Marks, I'd be in for hours of conversation. It wasn't, wrong number.
Marko was on a different planet. His playground was the 22nd century. He was like his ideas, big and in your face. He thought in bursts. Listeners felt like a racquetball wall.
Marko was an architect. I called him a futurist in a story, and it stuck. We didn't have many folks here thinking ahead in the 1970s. Marko more than made up for that.
His concepts were pure science fiction. People in his drawings looked like the Jetsons; cars parked out front had rocket nozzles.
He managed only a few jobs here, mostly because he always had a plan when somebody needed one yesterday. Arthur had hundreds of blueprints, waiting.
He built a fire station at Lake Cable that looked like a flying saucer. His office buildings recalled Capt. Nemo's Nautilus submarine — standing on end. His most perverse scheme was a floating cathedral on Lake Erie, the largest building on earth.
"I have an in with the Catholic Diocese," he gushed. He was crushed when his "in" led him out.
Many of his schemes involved tearing down blocks of historic architecture, which he hated. The Stark County Courthouse had to go. Replace it with a building growing tomatoes on stainless terraces surrounded by a canal and gondolas (I believe Marko was just back from Venice.)
I'd be walking downtown and hear him honking at a traffic light.
"Here James, read this. I'll be at Bender's tomorrow, and we'll talk about it."
I never had to read the books. I never got a word in edgewise.
It was 1979, and Jimmy Carter was president. The economy was in a dumper called stagflation. Jimmy tried to act like FDR and fund projects that never would be built in saner times.
The Canton Public Library's old building was falling down. If they could come up with a new plan fast, the feds would fund it with 6 million bucks.
They asked around, but nobody had anything that fast. Then they chanced upon Marko. He reached into his file cabinet and laid out the whole plan. They built it across from the old McKinley High School on Market Avenue N.
When visitors ask me where our library is, I say, "Look for the snowdrift building." He built it with an array of solar panels on the roof (Carter was into solar energy). They failed.
The white stucco soon leaked. The parking deck leaked, even though it was covered. The building eventually needed a reconstruction.
Still, it's Marko throughout. I love it. It's a breath of fresh air, rather, a hurricane of one. I feel his presence there.
Marko finally got disgusted with our backward lack of thinking ahead and moved to Virginia Beach, where forward-looking people were building flying-saucer shaped arenas.
He called one night past midnight with his vast (some would say half-vast) plans.
"I should live long enough to get rid of all these old buildings."
Days later, an obit writer on the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot called. Marko was dead.
I thought it right to donate his books to the library. If you check one out, you may find "To my friend James Hillibish from Marko, the futurist" on a flyleaf.
Funny thing. I thought it might be him on the phone this week. It would not have surprised me. About death, Marko was very futurist.
You can reach Repository New Media Editor Jim Hillibish at (330) 580-8324 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org