It's not the necklace that Rose threw overboard in Titanic, but a locket collected from the ocean floor belonged to a real passenger, whose story of love and loss could rival James Cameron’s classic.
Gambling chips, a locket, and a cuff link are just a few of the items found in a suitcase that belonged to first-class passenger Virginia Estelle McDowell Clark and her husband Walter Miller Clark, who traveled aboard the Titanic on her maiden voyage. The items and the story of the husband and wife will be on display for a limited time at the The Artifact Exhibition inside the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in recognition of the 105th anniversary of the ship's sinking on April 15, 1912.
The Clarks were on a belated honeymoon in Europe when they decided to book a trip on the Titanic so they could come home early to be with their two-year-old son on his birthday, according to Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice president of collections for Premier Exhibitions, Inc.
"Sadly, Virginia survived and Walter did not," Klingelhofer said.
Virginia Clark later said that when she felt the iceburg hit the boat, her husband was playing poker in the saloon, so she interrupted the game and told him she thought something was wrong, Klingelhofer said.
Walter left the game and ultimately helped his wife into lifeboat four.
"The boat was supposed to lower and gather more passengers, but couldn’t take passengers from the gangway door, so it continued being lowered," Klingelhofer said. "There was quite a bit of room on the boat, so there would have been a spot for [Mr. Clark] if it had worked out differently."
She said in the case of the Clark's items, researchers were lucky to find the initials V.C. on the locket.
"When we are researching artifacts we try to come up with potential passengers we can relate them to," Klingelholfer said. "We checked records, and there were not many passengers with the initials V.C., we thought it belonged to Virginia Clark, who was married to Walter Clark of Los Angeles."
Walter and Virginia met in Montana when they were growing up, and Walter later returned and married Virginia.
Walter's father and his uncle, U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark, built a railroad that facilitated shipments between Los Angeles and Salt Lake, Utah, with a connecting point in Las Vegas, Klingelhofer said.
The Clark's story and other items from the Titanic are on display daily from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.
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