The Huntington Library, Huntington Museum Art Collections and extraordinary Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino is one of the breathtaking attractions in Pasadena.
Henry E. Huntington a railway magnate was the founder of the famous Huntington Library & Art Gallery in San Marino, California. He was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, one the men instrumental in the creation of the transcontinental railway. Huntington held several executive positions working alongside his uncle with the Southern Pacific Railway. After Collis P. Huntington's death, Henry E. Huntington (who inherited 1/3 of Collis’ estate) assumed Collis Huntington's leadership role with Newport News, Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Virginia, and married his widow Arabella Huntington (she received the other 2/3 of her husband’s estate).
The Huntington Library and Mansion houses an extensive collection of treasures of all types including tapestries, paintings, and sculptures. The library proudly owns a copy of the famous Gutenberg Bible. Of the 47- 48 known to exist, only 21 are complete, but not the one on display at the Huntington. The mansion houses two of the world’s most loved paintings, Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, and Thomas Lawrence’s, Pinkie.
The Huntington encompasses 207 acres of land in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, amid a diverse botanical collection of rare plants, shrubs, and mature trees. While The Huntington does not function as a wildlife center, the lush landscape does provide a natural habitat for many birds – including red-shouldered hawks.
The Huntington Botanical Gardens consist of a Conservatory, an Australian Garden, Camellia Garden, Children's Garden, Desert Garden, Herb Garden, Japanese Garden, Jungle Garden, Lily Ponds, Palm Garden, Rose Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Subtropical Garden and the only Chinese Garden in the United states complete with a fence shaped to resemble a giant Dragon’s Tail.
The Gardens are showpieces of another sort. The Japanese Garden occupies nine acres on the slopes of a canyon. This is one of America’s oldest, most elaborate, and gracefully matured Japanese gardens. A five-room house, pagodas and lanterns, and many mature plants were moved to the site from a commercial tea garden in Pasadena in 1912. A walled courtyard containing a rock and sand garden and a bonsai exhibition area was added in 1968. The garden boasts several beautiful forms of Japanese red pine, handsome spreading junipers, large cycads, arbors of wisteria, and thirty-foot-high sweet olives.
SInce February 2008, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, Liu Fang Yuan has been the talk of the town Upon entering, when you look down the side of the wall, the resemblance to a Dragons Tail is evident. This Chinese garden is soon to be the largest one outside of China, While the Garden of Flowing Fragrance is currently three and a half acres in size, and it will be twelve acres when completed. The Corridor of Water and Clouds has breathtaking views and wonderful structures to sit in and just enjoy life.
All Photos: "Copyright © Judith Orr 2009. All rights reserved" or "Copyright © Lawrence Davis 2009. All rights reserved"