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The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

What Makes a Tourist Attraction Special: Huntington Estate and Gardens

Rich in both history and splendor, The Huntington Estate and Gardens is a tourist attraction centered on the lives and legacy of the rather ancient and wealthy Huntington family. The Huntington Estate is full of grandeur and is made to be a center of art and culture. Each area of the estate is made for that purpose.

The “Huntington Art Gallery”, originally used as a home for the Huntington Family, was converted into an art gallery and features many influential European art pieces from the 15th to the 18th century.

This is an example of one of the many art pieces displayed in the original Huntington Home. This piece is called “Blue Boy” and was painted by Thomas Gainsborough. The painting’s restoration was a multi-step process that required precision work and skill. (The Official Huntington Website)

A grounds worker assigned near the Huntington House said, “One thing about the Huntington family is that they loved their art. They were more than collectors in the sense that they lived and breathed what they owned. That’s the thing that really inspired the project.”Some art pieces were bought by Henry E. Huntington or Arabella Duval Huntington, though most came later.

The woman in this photo is named Arabella Duval Huntington. Along with being known previously as the richest woman in the world and the 2nd wife of Henry E. Huntington, she was also a popular Philanthropist. She and her husband started their now massive art collection. (The Official Huntington Website)


The man in the photograph is Henry E. Huntington. He owned and managed the Pacific Electric Railway after he moved to the L.A. area. He collected art along with his second wife, Arabella Duval Huntington. (The Official Huntington Website)

Along with the Huntington Art Gallery, the estate also features a grand Library. The Huntington Library is a place of education and functions like a museum. Most books in the library are tucked away behind glass and on their shelves. However, that doesn’t stop the exhibits from being any less interesting. Behind protective casings lie important artifacts of culture and science. According to the Official Huntington Website, ” Works on medicine include medieval medical and astronomical miscellanies and hundreds of books printed before 1501… The Huntington is also home to the Los Angeles County Medical Association collection.”

This rather worn document, displayed in the Huntington Library, is an example of the kinds of artifacts stored in the Huntington Library. Though the writing seems dated, the document seems to be a letter regarding a meeting including the constitutional convention and women’s suffrage. (Daniel Orea)


“Newton’s Prism Experiment” is the title of this exhibit within the science wing of the Huntington Library. The goal of the experiment was to split and reconnect the colors of white light. Though the wing is no longer available to the public, the library still holds a myriad of scientific artifacts to view. (Daniel Orea)

While there is plenty of content for the bibliophiles and those interested in art within the major buildings, there is a grand splendor that goes unmatched in the Gardens that take up most of the estate. The Huntington Gardens are a multifaceted, complex system of plants and ecology, divided into different areas of the park. These plants are divided by how well they work with one another as well as by their nation of origin. Each area is designed to be modeled off of a National area and includes architecture and landscaping techniques from that area as well to better model the original Nation. “The park has many hidden gems. One of my favorites is the Chinese gardens. The pond and its surroundings just make it so easy to feel relaxed there.” A response from a tour guide near Huntington’s entrance.

Taken on April 6, 2018, this bridge is located in the Chinese Gardens (Zone of the Huntington Gardens). It is one of many beautiful forms of Chinese architecture. (Daniel Orea)


Taken on July 19, 2021, this photo captures the elegance of the numerous statues spread around the park. This one specifically, is located near the Huntington Art Gallery in a large clearing. Many of the statues in the area are created through Greek myths. (Daniel Orea)


Taken on April 6, 2018, the landscape is located in the Japnese Gardens (Zone of the Huntington Gardens). This area has many elevated spots that look down at the river flowing through the dense foliage. (Daniel Orea)


Taken April 7, 2018, this photo was of the pools of water located in the lily ponds (Zone in the Huntington Gardens). This section features water-based plants and certain species of coyfish. (Daniel Orea)

As well as the places within Huntington, the thing that really makes it special is its events and projects. The Huntington practically has a new project featured every week for the public to view. Though most are exclusive and need a separate ticket for entry, there is a rare occasion when an event can be viewed during regular hours. “It’s expensive, but a good amount of them [events] are worth going to. We’ve been coming here for years and I know we have been to quite a few.” A guest who wishes to remain anonymous.

So what really does make up a tourist attraction? Is it the mood it gives? Is it the vibes? Or is it the story the place holds? Or is it the effort the place makes to entertain its guests? What makes up a tourist attraction really is all of them. All of these things combined make Huntington a truly special place.

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About the Contributor
Daniel Orea
Daniel Orea, Staff Writer
Daniel Orea is a Junior at Santa Rosa Academy. He enjoys cooking, singing, drawing, and playing volleyball. Daniel has several aspirations for his future including opening his own architecture firm, fashion design, and playing college volleyball. Daniel enjoys journalism and believes his confidence and charisma will guide him as he develops as a journalist. His favorite music is indie/pop and rock.
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