The Hearst Castle

The Hearst Castle

San Simeon, CA

The Hearst Castle was built by William Randolph Hearst and his Architect, Julia Morgan, with construction beginning in 1919. The Castle was originally to be a residential Ranch for Mr. Hearst. However, the opulance, gratuitous display of objects d'art, and the grandeur of Ms. Morgan's designs transformed the Ranch into one of the more unusual and beautiful residences in the world. The land the estate is situated on belonged to George Hearst (Randolph's Father), a Mining Engineer that made his fortune in mining the Comstock, Homestake, Anaconda mines in the 1800's. Of those mines Homestake and Anaconda are still large, viable mining companies operating today. The estate is several hundred thousand acres. Virtually, it includes everything in site to the Pacific Ocean. (Unfortunately, it was not for sale)

The Castle is located at an elevation of 1,600 feet above sea level and has a spectacular view, extending to the Pacific. The estate includes 3 guest houses and the main house, which is referred to as the Castle. Other than the views, the site had an ample supply of good quality water and artisian wells on the high mountain property. Considering that the surrounding area is semi-desert, this water supply made the building of the castle feasible. In addition, the ranch has cattle, sheep and exotic animals roaming the country side. Once Mr. Hearst had his own private zoo on site. Zebra are often sighted in the hills surrounding the castle.

During the heyday of the Hearst San Simeon Estate (1920's and 1930's), Hollywood Celebrities, Politicians, athletes and noted businessmen such as the Ford's and Rockefeller's were guests at the Hearst estate. Hearst often extended invitations to visit for as long as they liked (the record guest was one that stayed for 2 years). Entertainment and social affairs at the Castle were quite elaborate during these years. Due to the remote location of the Castle, especially when it was built, the design included enough space to house, feed and entertain the house guests, since anyone visiting could not return home due to the length of the trip. The Hearst estate has about 80 bedrooms, with a bathroom for every bed. (If a bedroom has 2 beds in it, there are 2 bathrooms).

In 1951, William Randolph Hearst died at the age of 88 in Beverly Hills. In 1958 the Hearst Corporation donated his beloved Estate, the Hearst Castle, to the State of California, to be used as a State Park and Museum. It generally receives over 1,000,000 visitors from all around the world each year.

 

 


A view from the road leading to the castle.

 



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