Bill Dedman has written a fascinating article with wonderful photographs about a little known multimillionaire of the 1920's, William A. Clark and one of his daughters’s, Huguette Clark. See, the news Web site. He’s done an excellent job of combining photographs with a unique story. Mr. Dedman can be reached at additional information see Wikipedia and The Clark’s: An American Phenomenonby William Mangen. While the story of Clark’s daughter, Huguette ("hue-GET") was far more interesting then her father, the background of the wealth is important to the story.

When he died, William Clark was the second richest man in America, second only to Rockefeller, but he HJUGUETTE & WILLIAM CLARKwas born in a log cabin in Connellsville, Pennsylvania in 1839. He was tall for the time, 5 feet eight inches and rail thin. He moved with his family to Iowa where he taught school and study law. After working in quartz mines in Colorado he traveled to Montana where there was a gold rush going on. He tried panning and placer CLARK 2 mining and used that money to become a trader of basic mining supplies, buying low in Salt Lake and selling high to the minors. He also became a banker who took over mines when the mine owner defaulted on the loan. He soon became one of the "Cooper Kings" of Butte, Montana. He built a 34 room multimillion dollar mansion there. He had mines in Nevada and in Arizona. His mine in Jerome, Arizona paid a profit of $400,000 a month or in today’s dollars $10 million.

He had a brother Ross Clark who was in Los Angeles and the two brothers bought thousands of acres in Los Angeles County. The planted sugar beets and built a factory to process them. They were involved in the effort to get a railroad connection with the mines in Montana as well as CLARK 3 Nevada and California. Clark County Nevada is named after them.

But, he wanted a title and decided he wanted to be a U.S. Senator. The legislature, at that time, appointed senators, so using his newspaper the Butte Minor and his money he began a campaign to be named senator. In 1899 he was appointed and headed to Washington, but soon a scandal came to light that he had bribed the legislature and he was refused approval. A later campaign was successful and he served one term, but insisted from that time that he be addressed as "Senator" Clark.

After leaving the Senate, Clark moved to New York and built a lavish mansion there on 5th avenue in CLARK 4 Manhattan. There were more then one hundred rooms plus servants quarters resulting in some one hundred and twenty one rooms in all. The main banquet room had a marble fireplace 15 feet across. The breakfast room had 200 carved panels. It was filled with paintings of famous painters from Europe. In fact, thereCLARK 5 were four art galleries. It had Turkish baths and it’s own small railroad line to bring coal for heating. There was a rotunda some thirty six feet high. He spent some $7 million and it included a Louis XVI solon, a marble statute by Rodin, oak ceilings from the Sherwood forest as well as tapestries from Europe

The home was called "Clark’s Folly" and was considered so ostentatious as to be ugly. This is the home he lived in until he died at age 86 on March 2, 1925. It was sold several years later for less then half CLARK 6 what it cost to build and was then torn down for an apartment building.

Clark had married Katherine Stauffer in 1869. By 1878, she and their children lived in Europe most of the time while Clark would commute across the Atlantic each winter to stay with them. She died in 1893. Clark had sponsored an aspiring CLARK 7actress, Eugenia LaChapelle who had come to him as a teenager for support. Clark had sent her from Butte to boarding school and then on to Paris. The year Clark became a senator she became pregnant with Andree who was born in 1902. He was 62 years old and Anna was 23 years old when at the time of the birth of the first child.

She then had Huguette born in 1906 in Paris where they lived with their moth er Anna. Clark later claimed they had secretly married before the birth of the first child, but no marriage record was every produced to prove it.

CLARK 8For me, Dedman’s article is far more interesting when discussing history after Clark’s death involving Anna and William’s daughter, Huguette. She is now 103 years old and left no children. At the time of her father’s death, her mother got a mansion in Santa Barbara and $2.5 million dollars. The rest of his estate, approximately $300 million or $3.6 Billion in today’s dollars went to Huguette and the four older children. Huguette was given More then $90,000 a year or $1 million dollars in today’s dollars.

The Santa Barbara estate was known as Bellosguardo. There was a salt pond behind the estate which was a bird refuge. Huguette donated $50,000 to restore it. After her mother died in 1963, Huguette stopped visiting Bellosguardo. The house was maintained by the staff, however, as if she were coming back the next day. Classic old cars in the garage, expensive paintings on the wall and the yards groomed. It’s value is over $100 Million dollars with its 21,000 square foot home on twenty three acres of land. Caretakers continued to maintain it but say they have never seen her.

She also owns another estate in New Canaan, Connecticut. She bought it in 1952 and expanded it. Known as "Le Beau Chateau" it has twenty two rooms, eleven fireplaces, nine bedrooms and baths plus an elevator and walk in vault. The house is 12,766 square feet on fifty two acres. But, it has set empty for fifty seven years while caretakers maintain it as if she might return at any time. It is now on the market listed for $34 Million in 2005 and now reduced to $24 Million.

In spite of her various homes, she lived primarily in New York at a co-op at 72ndstreet overlooking Central Park. It has forty two rooms and is 15,000 square feet. It has two art galleries, seven bedrooms CLARK 9 and rooms for nine servants. It’s worth about $100 million, but the staff have seen Huguette on a few times in the last thirty years.

After her father died, Huguette practiced music and art. In 1928 she became engaged to William Gower who had worked for her father. They were married at the Santa Barbara estate that year. She was 22 and he was 23 years old. They moved to New York to live in a fifth avenue apartment close to her mother. Two years later she moved to Reno with her mother and six servants to establish residency for a divorce from William. After the divorce she and her mother took a cruise to Hawaii. At age twenty four Huguette disappeared from society. She will be 104 this year and her attorney won’t disclose where she is. She may be in a nursing home, but not even her relatives appear to know for sure. Her attorney says her mind is clear and he frequently receives instructions from her, but by phone. Nor does anyone, including relatives, know where her fortune will go when she dies since she has no children.


  1. I learned “Sugar tooth Dick” as a child from my elocution teacher, Miss Mary Synon in Chicago. She also taught dramatic art and public speaking at Mercy High school Chicago. I remember the first few lines and would enjoy reading the rest if anyone knows them.
    Sugar tooth Dick
    For dainties was sick.
    So he slowly stole into the kitchen’
    Snatched a cup from the pantry,
    Unnoticed by mother or Gretchen.
    Gail Hayes McDowell Chicago

  2. thank you very much for this reflection and memories regarding Mr. Barnett. I was researching the history on the Gateway Inn in Ashford (I live 3 miles from the Gateway Inn) and there is minimal information regarding the inn until I came upon this site. I was very moved by these personal memories and reflections on Mr. Barnett and now the Gateway Inn will have a total new meaning for me. I grew up in the area and learned how to ski as a kid at Paradise when there were rope tows. I have bookmarked this site so from time to time I can revisit Mr. Barnett and his wonderful family. Thank you so much for sharing!! Pat at the mountain!

  3. You really should employ a proofreader; here are some corrections you need to make to this article:

    1st paragraph: daughters’s is incorrect; should be daughters
    2nd paragraph: “…where he taught school and study STUDIED law.” and “…selling high to the MINERS.”
    3rd paragraph: “THEY planted sugar beets…”
    4th paragraph: “…his newspaper the Butte MINER”
    5th paragraph: ” one hundred rooms plus servants SERVANTS’ quarters…” and “…Turkish baths and ITS own small railroad…” and “Louis XVI SALON…”
    7th paragraph: “He was 62 years old and EUGENIA was 23…”
    8th paragraph: “…lived with their MOTHER EUGENIA…”
    9th paragraph: “…EUGENIA and William’s daughter, Huguette…” and “…was given THAN $90,000 a year…” Also, if you use a dollar sign you don’t need the word “dollar” (eg: $2.5 million. and “$1 million in today’s dollars.”)
    10th paragraph: “ITS value is over $100 million with …”
    11th paragraph: “…it has SAT empty for fifty seven years..”

  4. Sugar Tooth Dick for dainties was sick & he slyly crept into the pantry.
    He snatched up a cup & darted out quick, unnoticed by mother or Gretchen.
    Said he “there’s no cake,for tomorrow they bakc, but this custard looks smooth & delicious”.
    How they’ll scold at the cats, the mice & the rats, but of me I don’t think they’re suspicious.
    They might have filled up such a stingy mean cup, but for the want of a spoon I must drink it.
    It’s easy to pour, hark, who’s that at the door & the custard went down ere you’d think it. …

    ’til the terrible din brought the whole household in. He had swallowed a cup full of mustard!

    as best as memory serves. I have missed some.

  5. He went to Montana to sell items to people mining SILVER there. He was a banker in Deer Lodge. He made a shady deal with a guy and ended up with his COPPER mine, and did even more criminal deals to get the BILLIONS of dollars raped out of the mountains while never cleaning up his huge environmental toxic mess (causing Butte to be USA’S hugest superfund site, and costing the FedGovt BILLIONS to clean up his mess). MILLIONS of people were harmed by him due to environmental toxins and his crimes.

  6. Sugar tooth dick for dainties was sick
    so he slyly stole into the kitchen
    he snatched up a cup and darted out quick
    unnoticed by mother or Gretchen
    said he there’s no cake for tomorrow they’ll bake
    but this custard looks fine and delicious
    How they’ll scold at the cats, the mice and the rats
    but of me they won’ be suspicious
    they might have filled up such a mean little cup
    For the want of a spoon I must drink it
    it’s easy to pour, hark, who’s at the door
    and the custard went down ere you’d think it
    With a howl he sprang up
    to the floor dashed the cup
    as he howled muttered spluttered and blustered
    such a horrible din brought the whole house hold in
    from he’d swallowed a cup full of mustard

    Between the two of us I think we have it all. My Dad remembered part of it that his uncle Dick
    kept reciting. I never met Uncle Dick. His sister, my Grandma came to BC in1957.
    She was a great one for making me memorize things.

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