Henry E. Huntington bigraphy, stories - Collectors

Henry E. Huntington : biography

February 27, 1850 - May 23, 1927

Henry Edwards Huntington (February 27, 1850, Oneonta, New York–May 23, 1927, Philadelphia) was an American railroad magnate and collector of art and rare books.. University of Southern California, USC Digital Library. Retrieved 2010-05-30. Born in Oneonta, New York, Huntington settled in Los Angeles, where he owned the Pacific Electric Railway as well as substantial real estate interests. In addition to being a businessman and art collector, Huntington was a major booster for Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

History in Southern California

Henry E. Huntington was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, one of The Big Four, the men instrumental in creating the Central Pacific Railroad (later called Southern Pacific), one of the two railroads that built the transcontinental railway in 1869. Huntington held several executive positions working alongside his uncle with the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. After Collis P. Huntington's death, Henry E. Huntington assumed Collis Huntington's leadership role with Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Virginia, and married his widow Arabella Huntington. His divorce from his first wife, Mary Alice Prentice, in 1910 and marriage to Arabella in 1913 after Mary Alice's death shocked San Francisco society. He had four children with Mary Alice: Howard Edward, Clara Leonora, Elizabeth Vincent, and Marian Prentice, but none with Arabella. Arabella's son Archer, from her prior marriage from which she was widowed, had earlier been adopted by Collis.

In friendly competition with his uncle's Southern Pacific, in 1898, Huntington purchased the narrow gauge, city oriented Los Angeles Railway (LARy) known colloquially as the 'Yellow Car' system. In 1901 Huntington formed the sprawling interurban, standard gauge Pacific Electric Railway (the PE), known more familiarly as the 'Red Car' system, centered at 6th and Main Streets in Los Angeles. This competition with his uncle's Southern Pacific could be achieved by the need for passenger friendly streetcars, on 24/7 schedules, that the railroads couldn't match—and by the boom in Southern California land development—where houses were built in distant places, like Orange County's Huntington Beach, a Huntington sponsored development, where streetcars served passenger needs that the railroads had never considered. Connectivity to Downtown Los Angeles made such suburbs feasible. The discovery of significant oil reserves in Huntington Beach in the 1920s made residential development unnecessary.

By 1910, the Huntington trolley systems stretched over approximately of southern California.Friedricks. At its most robust size, the system contained over 20 streetcar lines and 1,250 trolleys, most running through the core of Los Angeles and serving such nearby neighborhoods as Echo Park, Westlake, Hancock Park, Exposition Park, West Adams, the Crenshaw district, Vernon, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights; The system integrated the 1902 acquisition, the Mount Lowe Scenic Railway above Altadena, California in the San Gabriel Mountains., The Electronic Railway Historical Association of Southern California. Retrieved 2010-05-30.

In 1905 Huntington, A. Kingsley Macomber, and William R. Staats developed the Oak Knoll subdivision, located to the west of his San Marino estate in the oak-covered hilly terrain near Pasadena. The Huntington Mansion, 1915; now the centerpiece of the Huntington Library.

In 1906 Huntington, along with Frank Miller, owner of the Mission Inn, and Charles M. Loring, formed the Huntington Park Association, with the intent to purchase Mount Rubidoux in Riverside, build a road to the summit, and develop the hill as a park to benefit the city of Riverside.Gale, pages 155-156. The road was completed in February 1907.Hutchings, page 11 (unnumbered). The property was later donated to the city of Riverside by the heirs of Frank Miller, and today the hill is a city park.

Huntington was a Life Member of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of California.Breithaupt, page 369.

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