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Settlement Paves Way for Clark Estate to Become Museum

There’s a long driveway leading up to Huguette Clark’s 23-acre estate, which few people have ever seen, but that could change thanks to a settlement over her two contested wills.

One will left family out, the other shared a $300 million copper mining fortune. The settlement establishes a foundation to turn the ocean-bluff Santa Barbara property into a museum. Mayor Helene Schnieder said there are challenges ahead, including creating the foundation and making sure the home meets seismic standards. A group of dedicated individuals have maintained the property inside and out for generations. The leader of the group said they are not authorized to talk about what’s inside the home.

The estate’s name, Bellasguardo, means beautiful view.

But the mayor believes visitors will love the view and enjoy seeing furniture, silver and other decorations dating back to Clark’s younger days.

Clare, the youngest daughter of U.S. Sen. William Clark, died in 2011 at age 104.

She lived in New York, estranged from relatives, and hadn’t visited her Santa Barbara home in decades.

The co-authors of “Empty Mansions: the Huguette Clark Story” will be speaking Sunday, Oct 6. at 5p.m. at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum in Santa Barbara.

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