San Marino and the Huntington Library & Gardens


Tucked within the winding streets of Pasadena and South Pasadena is the wealthy community of San Marino, home to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.  Shown in the picture is the popular cactus garden.

 

Over 100 years ago in 1878, Don Benito Wilson owned this prime parcel of land and ran a  600 acre ranch which his son-in-law, James de Barth Shorb called  "San Marino" in honor of his birthplace in Maryland.

San Marino is home to the fabulous Huntington Library and Gardens, a popular tourist attraction beloved by Southern Californians and those who come from around the globe to see the magnificence of lush grounds, gardens, architecture and archives.. 

 

De Barth Shorb received the ranch and sold it in 1903 to a successful business man whose name was known throughout the West. Henry E. Huntington built an electric rail transportation system in Southern California, sat on the boards of 60 corporations and developed commercial properties in one of the nation's fastest growing regions.  A coastal town 40 miles south of San Marino even renamed their Pacific City to Huntington Beach, in honor of the man and his deeds. Though San Marino did not change its name when Huntington bought the property, his legacy lives on at the Huntington where his love of collecting rare books and art is shared with millions of people. 

 

    Huntington lived in semi-retirement for a few years at the San Marino estate where he operated the ranch established by his predecessors. When he sold off more than half of the  land, it was soon parceled into residential and commercial properties. Immaculate estates and fine homes surrounded the Huntington estate as growth continued and the region prospered.  Henry kept the remaining acreage for himself and wife, Arabella. The couple both shared an  interest and worked side by side to  build a mansion, increase their collections of manuscripts and art and create one of the finest estates any where. 

     

    In 1919, the couple signed an indenture which transferred their San Marino estate with its collections of art and books, to a non-profit educational trust. Pictured above is the library which was built in 1920 to house the rare manuscripts Henry collected.  The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens opened to the public in 1928, a year after Mr. Huntington's death. The private, nonprofit institution is supported by gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies, and by a private endowment that provides about 50% of the institution's annual budget. 

    The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is an educational and cultural center set amidst 150 acres of breathtaking gardens. Three art galleries and a library showcase collections of rare books and manuscripts, 18th and 19th century British and French art, and American art from the 18th to the early 20th century. 

    Highlights include Gainsborough's The Blue Boy, Lawrence's Pinkie, the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales -circa 1410, the Gutenberg Bible -circa 1455, original letters of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln, and a collection of early editions of Shakespeare.  Gutenberg Bible pictured right-


 ©  Debbie Stock

Huntington Library signThe Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is an educational and cultural center with constantly changing exhibits set amidst 150 acres of gardens, including a 12-acre desert garden, beautiful Japanese garden, the camellia gardens and 15 specialized gardens. English tea in the Rose Garden Tea Room is a popular highlight to a day spent enjoying the cultural treasures of The Huntington.  Public Events include monthly lectures on gardening. Some topics presented include:  Propagating Cacti and Succulents, a presentation from a commercial grower who helps the audience plan a small scale nursery at home. Gardening in a Mediterranean Climate, a presentation discussing California's unique weather it shares with only four other regions of the world. 

 

National Cactus Show featuring over 1,000 award winning plants for view and for sale.
Garden Color    July:  Agapanthus, Australian Bottlebrushes, Bidwill's Coral Tree, Cap Chestnut, Cacti, Crepe Myrtles, Daylilies, Delavay Magnolia, Eucalyptus 


August:  Bidwill's Coral Tree, Cape Chestnut, Cassia prectabilis, Crepe Myrtles, Daylilies,  Delavay  Kong Orchid Tree, Hume's Coral Tree, Kangaroo Paws, Lacebark Bottle Trees, Lotus, Moreton Bay Chestnut 
Over 500,000 visitors from around the world enjoy The Huntington each year, and nearly 2,000 researchers conduct scholarly studies among the world-renowned collections.

The Huntington is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. An admission fee is charged.

Huntington Library: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA

 

Nearby cities: Arcadia / Los AngelesPasadena

Huntington Library: 1151 Oxford Rd   626 405-2141 
Huntington Library Cactus Garden
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