New Canaan’s Empty Mansion

There is a beautiful estate in New Canaan called Le Beau Chateau which has been unoccupied since 1952. It was purchased by Huguette Clark and then never lived in. She is the daughter of William A. Clark who made a fortune in Butte, Montana at the turn of the century. He then embarked on a political career as a U.S. Senator from Montana. He served one term and then retired from politics. He was embroiled in controversy and Mark Twain regarded him as the embodiment of the excess of the Gilded Age: “He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary, with a ball and chain on his legs. To my mind he is the most disgusting creature that the republic has produced since Tweed’s time.” He and his family did become philanthropists and endowed many worthwhile projects including the L.A. Philharmonic, the Clark Wing at the Corcoran Gallery, and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA.

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