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The Clarks: An American story of wealth, scandal, mystery

Why are the mansions of one of America’s richest women sitting vacant? Click to follow this photo narrative of the reclusive Huguette Clark and her father, William Andrews Clark, the "Paris millionaire senator." Where is Huguette Clark? And what will become of her fortune?

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Bill Dedman / msnbc.com

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From "Le Sénateur Qui Aimait La France," 2005, by André Baeyens

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Lewis Pub. Co., Chicago
William Andrews Clark in Las Vegas, the seat of Clark County, named for him. Then a United States senator, Clark spoke to a crowd in Las Vegas from his private Pullman railroad car in 1905. Not for reuse without permission of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Marcus Daly [no date] Photograph By Davis Sandford
Thousand dollar bills in an envelope bearing the initials "W.A.C.," supposedly used to bribe Montana legislators to send William Andrews Clark to the U.S. Senate in 1899. Not for re-use without permission of the Montana Historical Society.
Senator William Andrews Clark of Montana. Clinedinst
Mark Twain Library Of Congress
The Butte Miner, 1904.
Anna La Chapelle Clark, 1904.
The Anaconda Standard, 1904, announcing the marriage of Sen. William Andrews Clark.
The home of Sen. William Andrews Clark at Fifth Avenue and 77th Street, which stood from approximately 1907 to 1927. Not for re-use without permission of The New-York Historical Society.
A gilded room in the Clark mansion on Fifth Avenue, the Salon Doré, now at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Edgar Degas, "The Dance Class," c. 1873, oil on canvas, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, William A. Clark Collection.
Detail of the William Andrews Clark house on Fifth Avenue. Not for reuse without permission of the New-York Historical Society.
One of the four art galleries in the William Andrews Clark mansion on Fifth Avenue.
The Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue, New York City, 1912, with Anna and former Sen. William Andrews Clark and their elder daughter, Andreé.
Ship's registry from 1914 trip to France by the Clark family. Postcard of the France, of the French line.
Copper king William Andrews Clark and his daughters, Andrée (left) and Huguette, in about 1915 at the Columbia Gardens amusement park, which he built for the people of Butte, Mont. Photo may not be re-used without written permission of MHS Research.
The social outings of Huguette Clark (and her friends from the private Miss Spence's School) were chronicled in the society pages of The New York Times through the 1920s.
William Andrews Clark died of pneumonia in his house on Fifth Avenue on March 2, 1925, at age 86.
William Andrews Clark was entombed in this mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y. Bill Dedman
Detail of the William Andrews Clark mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York.
William Andrews Clark was entombed in this mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y. Bill Dedman
Clark's will offered the bulk of his art colletion to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, just five blocks up Fifth Avenue, but only if the Met agreed to his conditions: It must house the art together, never breaking up the collection, and it must take all of it: the paintings, the statues, Italian Majolica ware from the 16th and 17th century, tapestries that hung in the billiard room, and lace. The Met said no. The art went to the second choice, the Corcoran in Washington, which built a wing (with Clark money) for the William A. Clark collection, across the street from the White House.
William Andrews Clark was entombed in this mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y. Detail of the bronze door. Bill Dedman
William Merritt Chase "William Andrews Clark" c. 1915 oil on canvas, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of William A. Clark.
Boy and smelters at Butte, Mont., c. 1904.
William Andrews Clark.
In 1928, Huguette Clark was married to William Gower, a law student and employee of her late father.
Bellosguardo, the Clark estate on the Pacific in Santa Barbara. Huguette Clark gave the salt pond on the inland side to the city in memory of her sister, Andreé. She also donated 135 acres to the Girl Scouts for Camp Andreé Clark in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
The Gowers were divorced in 1930, after Huguette Clark Gower and her mother and six servants moved to Reno for an ignominious summer to establish residency for the divorce proceedings.
Mrs. Hugnette Clark Gower, daughter of the late Senator W.A. Gower of Montana, upper magnate, who was granted a divorce from William MacDonald Gower in Reno, Nevada August 11, 1930, on grounds of desertion. The couple were married in Santa Barbara, California in 1928, and separated more than a year ago. There are no children, and the decree was awarded with neither property alimony settlement. (AP Photo) Taken in 1930, this is the last known photo of Huguette Clark. Source: Associated Press.
Bellosguardo, the Clark family estate in Santa Barbara.
"In the Roses," Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1882.
Le Beau Château, the Clark estate in New Canaan, Ct.
Le Beau Château, the Huguette Clark country house in New Canaan, Conn.
A grand staircase in Le Beau Château, the Clark estate in New Canaan, Conn.
Le Beau Château, the Huguette Clark estate in New Canaan, Conn.
Le Beau Château, the Clark estate in New Canaan, Conn.
907 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Bill Dedman
Floorplan for 907 Fifth Avenue in New York.
Huguette Clark as a child in France. Family photo, from "Le Sénateur Qui Aimait La France," 2005, by André Baeyens
Huguette in Montana around 1923. Her father, Senator William A. Clark, made his fortune in Butte Copper Mining. Source: The Copper King Mansion.