Visit the Huntington Library
July 27, 2019
Living in Los Angeles, around places like the Canoga Park apartments, it's easy to get lost in the beauty of this great city and forget that it isn't just a place of unparalleled aesthetic appeal. The City of Angels is also a cultural wonder and a place of great learning and appreciation for the natural world. Few places show this facet off quite like The Huntington, one of Pasadena's foremost research and educational institutions:
"The Huntington is a research and cultural center surrounded by 120 acres of breathtaking gardens. Originally the private estate of railroad magnate Henry Huntington, it is one of Southern California’s must-see cultural destinations with magnificent collections of rare books, manuscripts, and works of art."
This combination of library, garden, art collection, and cultural paradise makes for a perfect place to spend a day exploring, and if you're interested, we'll be taking you on a quick overview of the facility's finer points so you can get better acquainted with all there is to see and do here before your eventual visit. Let's explore.
History of The Huntington
Long before it became The Huntington that we know of today, the land was the property of wealthy landowner Henry Edwards Huntington. He was a big player in the early growth of Southern California, and the nephew of one of the nation's most notable railroad tycoons, Collis P. Huntington. In an interesting twist, he married his uncle's widow in 1913, relocating from his then-base of operations in San Francisco to the budding metropolis of Los Angeles, and purchasing a 500-acre patch of land called the San Marino Ranch.
Huntington would later purchase other pieces of land around the area, and was instrumental in the founding of San Marino and the development of the Los Angeles area. His wealth allowed him to amass a gigantic collection of art, and in 1919, before the death of he and his wife, Huntington devised a trust that would "transform their private estate into an institution for the "advancement of learning, the arts and sciences, and to promote the public welfare" following their deaths.
Their wishes were followed, and what was formerly their private residence was converted into The Huntington Art Gallery in 1928. Over the years, additional features were added to the property, making it place where lovers of research, literature, art, and botanical wonders could congregate and marvel at what Huntington had left behind for the advancement of human learning.
The Huntington Today
Now, in the present day, The Huntington is one of the nation's wealthiest cultural and educational institutions. Numerous restorations and construction upgrades have made it a marvel to view, and each year, some 600,000 people come to visit the grounds, with nearly 2,000 scholars heading their annually to conduct research. There's a great deal to do and see here, and much falls under the categories of the Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens.
The Library at The Huntington is one of the world's finest, containing "more than nine million items spanning the 11th to 21st centuries." A small portion of this massive collection is usually on display in the Library Exhibition Hall, with such notable works as the first collected edition of plays by William Shakespeare, Newton's Principia, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, the Ellesmere Chaucer, the Gutenberg Bible, and Jack London's White Fang — among others.
The Art Galleries at The Huntington contain a great many selections of American art spanning from the 17th through the 20th Centuries, as well as European art from the 15th to 20th Centuries. With highlighted works like Breakfast in Bed, Zenobia, the Long Leg, Portrait of a Man, Blue Boy, and Pinkie. In all, there are three galleries of work, the main Huntington Art Gallery, the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries, and the Marylou and George Boone Gallery, each with an impressive array of art.
As for the Botanical Gardens, these legendary grounds are divided into 12 specialized gardens: the Australian Garden, California Garden, Camellia Garden, Children’s Garden, Conservatory, Desert Garden, Herb Garden, Japanese Garden, Jungle Garden, Lily Ponds, Palm Garden, Rach Garden, Rose Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and the Subtropical Garden. The gardens cover 120-acres in all, contain a number of beautiful sculptures and fountains, and even have a beautiful mausoleum to explore.
All this, and we haven't even touched on the events that happen regularly at The Huntington. You can take a look at the full calendar to get an idea of just how often The Huntington is putting on a show that you'll enjoy, but specific highlights include things like Music in the Chinese Garden. Every Wednesday afternoon, performers gather in the Garden of Flowing Fragrance to put on a display of heartwarming, traditional Chinese music, using traditional instruments for an authentic sound.
Then there are gatherings like the occasional Members' Evenings, where contributors to The Huntington get together for a classy party on the lawn. There are opportunities to explore the gardens after hours, have a casual meal or picnic, and soak up some live music, generally performed by superbly-cool jazz acts and perfectly accompanying the evening festivities.
Beyond this, you might also be interested in some of the education events that are almost always running. You can learn about botany, California Ranches, and all kinds of other topics you may not have thought to explore before, and it always makes for some time well spent. There's always something to do here at The Huntington, and regardless of when you make that visit, you'll find that your trip wasn't wasted. In fact, we're going to bet that you'll enjoy yourself more than you ever thought possible once you make it to the grounds and take in this rich cultural experience.
Plan a Visit From the Canoga Park Apartments Soon
Heading from communities like Alder, The Huntington is virtually a straight shot east, so whenever you're ready to head out, it shouldn't be too much of a chore to get there. When you're finished up, you'll have the pleasure of returning to one of the finest collection of residences that Los Angeles has to offer, complete with a heaping helping of modern style, incredible amenities, and spacious living areas for you to stretch out in and relax. This is the side of the city you were meant to experience, so reach out, and learn how you can enjoy the best that LA living has to offer.