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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 37

Vizcaya
Gardens

A garden once dismissed as a stylistic mishmash now conjures nostalgia for an impossible place.
Words by Cody Delistraty. Photography by Steven Brooke.

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 for gay, and, as often as he threw parties and moved in large social circles, he seemed forever ill at ease.

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Seven

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