Tuesday, October 7, 2008
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree:" Coleridge
I think of this poem whenever I visit the stately grounds of the Huntington Library in San Marino. Henry Edward Huntington made his fortune building railroads joining the east coast to the west coast in an era where the wealthy didn't have to pay income taxes and the poor worked seven days a week. Labor was cheep and land was stolen from the native Americans, ah the good old days.
He and his wife Arabella were lovers of rare books and fine art. Henry's marriage to Arabella was quite the scandal of their era, for Arabella was the widow of his uncle and people stated that her first son was a love child and she was never married to her first New York millionaire husband as she had claimed to be. She must had been a charming as well as beautiful woman for all three men in her life were rich and very powerful.
Henry Huntington build a grand mansion on sprawling grounds of beautiful gradens and fine works of art. There arer claims that this couple still haunts these gorgeous grounds today. People have stated seeing an eloquently dressed mature couple walking the grounds at dusk. Some workers claims when you see this couple you can see right through them. Cool!
I can understand why this couple would still haunt these grounds, for they built their own version of paradise, who needs heaven?