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The Clarks: an American story of wealth, scandal and mystery

Why are the mansions of one of America’s richest women sitting vacant? Follow this photo narrative of the reclusive Huguette Clark, her father, Senator William Andrews Clark, and their lives of wealth, scandal and mystery. Msnbc.com's Bill Dedman reports.
Bellosguardo, the mysterious Clark family estate in Santa Barbara, Calif. Caretakers and gardeners have worked at the Clark estate for generations — without meeting Huguette Clark
Bellosguardo, the mysterious Clark family estate in Santa Barbara, Calif. Caretakers and gardeners have worked at the Clark estate for generations — without meeting Huguette ClarkJohn L. Wiley

Why have the mansions of one of America’s richest women been vacant for decades?

Follow this photo narrative of the reclusive Huguette Clark, her father, Sen. William Andrews Clark of Montana, and their lives of wealth, scandal and mystery.

Where is Huguette, and what will become of her fortune?

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If you want to know more about Huguette Clark and her father, read the notes and sources.

And an update on the Huguette Clark story is available in a two-part series beginning here, "At 104, mysterious heiress is alone now." All updates on the story are at http://clark.msnbc.com.

Now, on with the show...

The Clarks: an American story of wealth, scandal and mystery

Huguette with one of her prized dolls around 1910. Doll collecting became a lifelong passion for the reclusive heiress.







Bill Dedman / msnbc.com
From \"Le Sénateur Qui Aimait La France,\" 2005, by André Baeyens
Pirie MacDonald / New-York Historical Society
Ranging widely across the West, Clark is remembered in Las Vegas, the seat of Clark County. Then a United States senator, Clark spoke to a crowd in Las Vegas from his private Pullman railroad car in 1905. The tiny trading post of Las Vegas became a stopping-off place for Clark's railroad connecting his United Verde copper mine, in Jerome, Ariz., with the coast. Clark's Las Vegas Land and Water Co. owned much of the land in the area, so his name was used when Clark County was established in 1909. At its height, the United Verde mine was said to net Clark about $400,000 a month. Jerome was notorious as
Marcus Daly [no date]Photograph By Davis &Amp; Sandford
Clinedinst
Library Of Congress
A gilded room in the Clark mansion on Fifth Avenue, the Salon Doré, was brought over from France. Originally part of the hôtel de Clermont, a private residence in Paris, the salon is paneled from floor to ceiling with Corinthian pilasters, trophy panels, garlands and framed mirrors from the 18th century. The panels and ceiling have been recreated again in Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art, which rents out the room for partiesPeter Harholdt
Edgar Degas,
The Clarks sailed frequently to France, traveling in luxury apartments on the latest steamships.
Bill Dedman
Bill Dedman
,
Bill Dedman
William Merritt Chase, \"William Andrews Clark,\" 1915
Taken on the day of her divorce, in 1930, this is the last known photo of Huguette Clark. Source: Associated Press.
\"In the Roses,\" Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1882
Barbara Cleary's Realty Guild
Bill Dedman
Family photo, from
Huguette in Montana around 1923. Her father, Senator William A. Clark, made his fortune in Butte Copper Mining. Source: The Copper King Mansion.