If you have never been to the Huntington Library in San Marino, you owe it to yourself to set aside a day and head up there with a good friend or loved one. The experience of it's vast gardens along with it's library of rich paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, and books makes this a top-5 destination of places to visit if you're new to the area.
“The Huntington”, as it is known by the regulars, is a collections-based institution established by Henry Huntington (1850–1927) with a focus on 18th and 19th-century European art and 17th to mid-20th-century American art. The property also includes approximately 120 acres of botanical gardens, most notably the "Japanese Garden", the "Desert Garden", and the "Chinese Garden". According to Wikipedia, Henry Edwards Huntington, a landowner, businessman and visionary, was born in Oneonta, New York, and was the nephew and heir of Collis P. Huntington, (1821–1900), one of the famous "Big Four" railroad tycoons of 19th century California history. In 1913, after relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Henry purchased more than 500 acres of what was then known as the "San Marino Ranch”. Huntington's interest in art was influenced in large part by his second wife, Arabella Huntington, (1851–1924), and with art experts to guide him, he benefited from a post-World War I European market that was "ready to sell almost anything". Before his death in 1927, Huntington amassed a collection, then worth $50 million.
I’ve made numerous trips to the Huntington over the years, and each time have enjoyed myself immensely. Whether strolling through the vast and richly cultivated gardens, resting on one of many benches under shade canopies of its innumerable mature trees, or marveling at the many paintings, sculptures, or manuscripts, the Huntington is one of Southern California’s most treasured destinations. I could go once a month and never tire of the experience…
My entire collection of photographs from the Huntington can be viewed at: