Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mary Hill State Park and Museum

We have another primo camping spot right on the water: At Mary Hill State Park near Goldendale, WA, on the Columbia River.  
The first place we visited was nearby Mary Hill Museum, built by Samuel Hill, an attorney, Quaker, visionary, promoter of roads, and president of the Seattle Gas and Electric Company.  Born in North Carolina in 1857 and Harvard educated, Hill’s dream was to build a Quaker farming community along the Columbia River. His plan included a hilltop mansion home; however, Hill never finished the house, nor did his utopian society materialize.   
Hill was convinced by a friend -- avant garde dancer Loie Fuller -- to turn his unfinished home into an art museum.  Fuller (we saw a film of her dancing/swirling in voluminous fabric) helped Hill obtain an impressive collection, including 80 Rodins.  The museum also contains paintings, photographs and furniture belonging to another of Hill’s friends,  Queen Marie of Romania, a granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria.  And much more.
Hill died in 1931 before the museum was opened but another friend, sugar magnate Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, continued his dream.  The museum was opened to the public on Sam Hill’s birthday on May 13, 1940.   For more about Sam Hill, and this lovely and eclectic museum, click here. 
Jim hooking up the water to our rig at our great 
campsite on the Columbia River Gorge.  It got very 
windy that night and the river had white caps.

If you walk to the water at our campsite, this is 
the view:  The bridge to Oregon with 
Mt. Hood at the right.

The Mary Hill Museum-- named after builder 
Samuel Hill’s daughter -- was originally intended 
as a home for Hill and his family.  But Hill's wife, a 
Minneapolis native, did not like the west and moved 
back to Minnesota with their two children after only 
six months.

Jim and the Queen of Romania, who donated many 
of her own belonging to the Mary Hill Museum.  
She also dedicated the museum in 1926; 
the ceremony was attended by over 2000 people.

The Rodin Room of the Mary Hill Museum, 
with Jim near the back.
One of the sculptures on the museum grounds.  
As you walk past it, the image changes.
Jim looking at “Stonehenge,” another Sam Hill creation
just a few miles from the Mary Hill Museum.  Hill built 
it to memorialized local people killed in World War I 
(at the time it was thought England's Stonehenge was 
place where human sacrifices were made).  
Fallen soldiers' names are engraved on plaques 
placed on the large stones.  Hill’s grave is also nearby.

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