• Words Cody Delistraty
  • Photography Steven Brooke

Vizcaya
Gardens

Issue 37

,

Arts & Culture

  • Words Cody Delistraty
  • Photography Steven Brooke

“I don’t know of any other garden intended to induce melancholia.”

Born on November 12, 1859 to one of the wealthiest families in America, James Deering never had the charisma of his father, a businessman and investor who snapped up thousands of acres of land in the then underdeveloped western United States. William Deering had made a fortune when he acquired a farm equipment manufacturer and implemented a technology that allowed for harvesting an acre of grain in an hour—increasing both the value of the business and of his land investments.

James, William’s younger son, suffered from anemia and was described by his contemporaries, as recounted in the 2012 film The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture, as “colorless, meticulous, pedestrian, sedate, dyspeptic, proper, fastidious.” He was considered a “lifelong bachelor,” likely code fo...

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