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Collis P Huntington State Park

Overview/History

Collis P. Huntington State Park was primarily in agricultural use until the Luttgen family acquired the land in the late 1800's and developed the present service roads, trails, and artificial ponds. Reportedly, a small steam paddlewheeler was then kept on the largest pond and is now sunken somewhere under the park waters. A short, stone "lighthouse" still remains on one of the islands. The Starratt family then owned the estate until the 1930's when the land was acquired by Archer M. Huntington, who willed the land of the homestead he called Stanerigg for a state park.

It was there that his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, the internationally famous sculptress, worked with clay and scaffolding in her studio. Mr. Huntington centered his activities at Stanerigg as a noted poet, Spanish scholar, art patron, and founder of the Hispanic Society. The park is named after Archer Huntington's father, Collis Potter Huntington (1821-1900), the railroad tycoon. Collis Potter Huntington became one of the wealthiest men in the country in the late century by his promotion and completion of the first transcontinental railroad. He also established the largest shipyard and dry dock company in the United States in the late 1800's at Newport News, Virginia.

The estate will most be remembered for Anna Hyatt Huntington, whose sculptures of bears and wolves welcome visitors at the park entrance. Among the most famous of her sculptures are Joan of Arc in New York City; Cid Campeador in Seville, Spain; and the heroic statue of General Israel Putnam at the Putnam Memorial State Park entrance in Redding. Mrs. Huntington was a prolific and hard working artist all her life. The work of Israel Putnam was created when the artist was in her nineties.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Huntington were careful to preserve the natural quality of their land, the 1017 acre park is now a wonderful place for tranquility. It spreads over fields and dense woodlands and includes five ponds. The park was opened to the public in 1973 after Mrs. Huntington's death.