Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eternal Love

The final resting place of Henry Edwards Huntington and his beloved wife Arabella Duval Huntington is one of the most romantic spots in the Pasadena area. Yes, I'm speaking of a grave.

The mausoleum, designed by architect John Russell Pope, is called "a Greek temple dedicated to eternal love." Pope used a similar design later for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Arriving here at the end of a long alley of trees, I am stricken not with sadness but with the beauty of love. How lucky the Huntingtons were to have found each other and to have lived out their lives together. Karin Bugge, the Altadena Hiker, is a docent at the Huntington Library and Gardens. She tells the Huntington love story best. It is a must-read.

If I must die someday then John must, too. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love him every bit as much as Henry loved Arabella. We're as lucky to have found each other as they were, and as happy to live out our lives together. I would like to be buried with my beloved (that would be John) in a spot like this. By that I mean a spot of our own choosing--a private one that has meaning for us, and will commemorate our love for all eternity with a big, honking monument.

24 comments:

Latino Heritage said...

Not to be too morbid, we are talking death here, but James and I have our space. Nothing morose. Just another part of where we, can remember each other, and be remembered by our familia.

lewi14 said...

Very nice shot. Wonderful story. In Stuttgart, there is the famous "Sepulchral Chapel on W├╝rttemberg Mountain". It's the resting-place for Queen Katharina von W├╝rttemberg, who died young. I hope, I can show a photo of it eventually.

Janet M Kincaid said...

To take the John Russell Pope link one step further, when he designed the Jefferson Memorial, he wanted to mimic Jefferson's beloved Rotunda at the University of Virginia, which he (Jefferson) designed. The Huntingtons are in good company!

My next trip to Pasadena, I'm going to the Huntington Library. It's an oversight I've been meaning to correct for a long, long time.

Kim said...

I'd forgotten how beautiful this was, and I had no idea the designer had completed this before the Jefferson memorial.
Lovely sentiments about the kind of memorial you'd like for your love.
-Kim

altadenahiker said...

I remember your saying that, about you and John and eternity. And it didn't sound a bit depressing.

Petrea said...

I understand, Roberta, that there's a law stating that one can't be buried in Pasadena. The only place I know of is Mountain View in Altadena, which is very nice but holds no personal feeling for us. I don't particularly like thinking about it, but we must. Wish we could be buried at Hahamongna.

I'd like to see that, Steffen.

Janet, when you come to Pasadena please get in touch with me. The Huntington's the first place I take people and I'd love to show you around.

Kim, there's a small book about the planning, designing and building of this memorial. I wish I could figure out what I did with it! Somewhere on my shelves.

Hiker, the only depressing thing about it is we don't get to live together forever. I'm having a lot of fun with him.

Did everyone read Hiker's story? It's concise and beautifully written (which is redundant, in a way). Tells you in a few short words the love story of the Huntingtons.

Bellis said...

I love the shadows on the lawn and temple - you got there at the right time of day. Until I read Karin's piece I, too, had assumed the marriage was mainly to consolidate the family fortune. It's so much more romantic than that!

As for a monument that you and John can lie under, how about a tree or trees? You'd have to be cremated, but the ashes would become part of the tree. How about that glorious sycamore in one of the Hahamongna water basins? Or maybe you could help the Tree People replant the burnt forest in 2011 and create your own tree temple? By the time you both die, the trees may be almost fully grown.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I hear the Huntington's in foreclosure. That honking monument could be yours. Stick the Huntington's up in Rose Hills. Eternity is overrated.

Petrea said...

A tree's a good idea, Bellis, but I'd want ours to be in a more protected place than the Angeles National Forest. Nothing's forever, I guess.

PA, I don't know where you got that but I'm pretty sure the place is supremely well-funded, according to the figures they regularly send to their members.

pasadenapio said...

I think it's a lovely idea. Start saving your pennies!

Janet M Kincaid said...

Petrea: You're at the very top of my list of people I'll contact the next time I make it to beautiful Pasadena!

Cafe Pasadena said...

This is a very nice foto you caught! I wish I could've been there also to capture it. Or, at least to catch you de-tripoding.

(I wunder if J-P remembers the idea you mention here as part of his vows.)

Katie said...

Sublime photo. And you were right -- this really is romantic (in a slighly odd way). Good for Mr. Huntington to think big and get the Pope-designed Greek eternal love temple. Do you think there was a catalogue he flipped through of possible monuments? ("Nope, too simple; ick, too tacky; ooh, the love temple is perfect!") Here's hoping you and John find the perfect big honking monument to celebrate your big honking love for each other!

Cafe Pasadena said...

I agree with de Artist formerly known as Palm Axis about putting up the Huntington's up on Rose Hills. It wood bee a better location for them - seriously. The view is pretty good too.(Location!, Location!
And, PA has much insider info so that when she speaks my big dog ears listen.

altadenahiker said...

Fitzgerald once wrote:
"I wouldn't mind a bit if in a few years Zelda and I could snuggle up together under a stone in some graveyard. That is really a happy thought, and not melancholy at all."

Petrea said...

I don't think Huntington bothered with a catalogue, Katie. He was a wealthy man and could hire anybody he wanted, use any materials he wanted, for his memorial. I think he respected great architects but I suspect he had final approval of Pope's design.

I love the Fitzgerald quote, Karin. It would be nice to have a monument, but so long as I'm buried with John that's really all that matters.

Laurie said...

That's such a jazz age quote, isn't it?

Love the shot, P. I've missed a bunch this week and I'm catching up...

Virginia said...

I suppose you and J. know how very very lucky you are to have found each other. I will admit to being envious.
V

Petrea said...

I never wanted to inspire envy, Virginia, but yes, we know we're lucky. We met late in life by some peoples' standards, but in retrospect that was part of the luck.

L Barlow, AIA said...

When I take guests to the Huntington, I always save this spot for last. They are astonished at the peacefulness and beauty of it in the orange grove. I practically grew up in the main gallery, Pinkie/Blue Boy/Mrs. Simpson, etc. which is why I now have champagne tastes on a beer budget...no mausoleum for me!

Lori Lynn said...

The four of you are very fortunate indeed!
Sweet post!
LL

Petrea said...

Thanks, LL.

LB, I've now been to the mausoleum several times and I'm still astonished by it, too. Maybe I shouldn't have posted about it because it seems to be the Huntington's best kept secret. It's always so peaceful there.

klikkonthis said...

This is one of my favorite spots at Huntington Gardens. My husband and I have occasionally pondered doing something like this ourselves... although I suspect to do something very much like that, he and I would somehow have to die and then sneak ourselves into the Huntington memorial for our eternal rest. I'm not sure yet how to handle the logistics of that.

Petrea said...

I have a feeling a lot of couples have contemplated the same thing, Kat. The place must be crowded with ghosts.