Huguette Clark once lived in a sprawling estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean, but the copper heiress, worth a reported $300 million, abandoned the Santa Barbara estate more than 60 years ago.
But this week, for the first time ever, the public was able to see inside the creepy mansion, which has been frozen in time since the Truman administration.
Journalist Bill Dedman, writing for NBC News, documented his unprecedented access to the Huguette Clark estate:
“This weekend the estate administrators allowed me to be the first journalist to report on a tour of Bellosguardo, one of the empty estates owned by Huguette Clark, the reclusive heiress to a copper fortune that at one time rivaled that of the Rockefellers. She is believed to have last visited in about 1953.”
The estate, which features a 21,666-square-foot mansion set on a 23-acre property, has become something of a legend in the Santa Barbara area. The property is hidden from view by land, though ocean-goers have been able to catch a glimpse of the stunning estate, adding to the mystery for local residents.
Clark was the daughter of Senator William A. Clark, a mining and railroad tycoon who founded Las Vegas. Huguette slipped away from the public eye in the 1930s, holing herself up in the family’s Fifth Avenue apartment in New York. In doing so, she left behind mansions in Santa Barbara and Connecticut.
“Inside the great house, there is a touch of the eccentric: In Huguette’s dressing room, the covered chairs come in two sizes: full-sized ones for adults, and tiny, half-height chairs for her collection of French and Japanese dolls.”
The story was accompanied by a gallery of pictures from the Huguette Clark mansion, showing some older photos mixed with newer ones that demonstrated a mansion unused for more than half a century.
Clark herself has been surrounded in mystery. She lived a reclusive life, dying in 2011 at age 104. After her death there was a battle over her fortune, and a strange story of one potential heir who died homeless under a bridge in Wyoming.
Children found 60-year-old Timothy Henry Grey under a Union Pacific Railroad overpass. In his pocket was an unused cashier’s check from 2003 for a “significant amount,” authorities said.
A full gallery of the Huguette Clark mansion can be found here.