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Bel-Air estate was a nature sanctuary – amid mansions
Bel-Air estate was a nature sanctuary – amid mansions

Imagine it is Labor Day 1924. You've just finished dinner on the porch, the kids are playing next door and the radio just tuned in: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Today's story is about bestselling author Gene Stratton-Porter. At this very moment she's building a castle in Bel-Air and making her garden a bird and wildflower sanctuary." Today it's hard to imagine native bird Paris Hilton tending buttercups at her family's Bel-Air manse, but a century ago, before the Westside development was paved and clipped, nature conservation was a serious commitment for the rich and famous. Geneva Grace Stratton was born in 1863 in rural Indiana. She never...

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