Stroll Garden: William Hertrich; Zen Garden: Robert Watson
1912 - 1913 with restoration in the 1950's and significant additions in 1968 and 1973
Tuesday to Friday 12:00 - 4:30, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 - 4:30 Closed Mondays and major holidays Summer Hours: Memorial Day - Labor Day, Tues - Sun, 10:30am - 4:30pm
Adults, $8.50; Seniors, $8; Students, $6; children under 12, free; Members, free Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month
Added to JGarden:
Begun in 1911, this is one of America's oldest and most mature Japanese gardens.
Things Japanese were fascinating to many Americans in the early years of the 20th century. Since the appearance of Commodore Perry's black ships in Japan in 1868, small amounts of information about Japanese culture began to trickle out to the rest of the world. In continental Europe, Japanese painting, textiles, prints, design and architecture had a profound impact in the worlds of art and design, culminating in the Japonisme movement near the end of the century. The Impressionists, Tolouse Latrec, Klimt and the other Art Nouveau artists in Austria and Paris, and numerous others experienced profound shifts in their thinking when they encountered what was, for them, a fresh new culture from Asia.
The cultural influence was felt much more gradually on the other side of the Atlantic. But by early in the 20th Century, there had been several international expositions in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and St. Louis. Each of these expos had Japanese pavilions and gardens at which the Americans marveled.
Several significant books also appeared in America at the end of the 19th century or early in the new century, stirring the national imagination. Edwin Morse publishedJapanese Homes and their Surroundings in 1886. This book influenced two Pasadena architects, Greene and Greene, to create a new aesthetic of architectural structure related to the landscape that had enormous impact on the architectural style of southern California. Josiah Conder's book, Japanese Gardening in Japan, published in 1893, was also enormously influential.
As a result of these contact and several other factors, Japanese gardens became the height of fashion in Los Angeles, for those who could afford them. Many were small tea gardens, but in the Los Angeles area, two were built before 1910 that were the size of a large estate. One was by Myron Hunt, Huntington's own architect. A second was by George T. Marsh, proprietor of the famouse tea garden at the 1894 San Francisco exposition. When he returned to Pasadena, he decided to build a commercial tea garden in Pasadena. The effort was extravagent and Marsh spared no expense.
Thus, by 1910, Huntington and Hertrich had two local examples, all of the work being done by Greene and Greene and some books on the subject. (An original copy of the Conder book was found in Hertrich's library). They began to get ideas of their own for a Japanese garden on the grounds of the Huntington estate. It's not clear, but there may have been some other motivations as well. Huntington seemed to be in a great hurry to get the garden built by 1912, when he occupied the residence. It is possible that he may have intended the garden as a gift for his bride and second wife, Arabella, whom he married in 1913.
In any case, Huntington and Hertrich set about looking for a site. They settled on a small, former reservoir, overgrown with brush, on the west side of the San Marino Ranch. Huntington went to see Marsh, the proprietor of the Pasadena tea garden, about buying some plant material. It was a fortuitous inquiry for both of them. Marsh's commercial garden venture was failing financially. Huntington, who by this time had already bought entire estates and libraries, offered to purchase the whole garden. Marsh accepted quickly. In 1911, Huntington started a massive earth-moving effort, shifting the entire Marsh site to the chosen reservoir site. This required dismantling Marsh's Japanese-style house, balling plants, stone and ornaments and then reassembling the entire palette. Hertrich designed and supervised construction of the whole affair. In addition to what was acquired from Marsh, he hired Japanese craftsmen to build a bridge and pavilion for a huge bronze temple bell. As the ornaments fro
In the morning mist that lies
Over Akashi Bay,
My longings follow with the ship
That vanishes behind the distant isle.
Akashi no ura no
Fune o shi zo omou.