HEARST CASTLE, formally named 'La Cuesta Encantada' ('The
was the palatial estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
San Simeon, California, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean,
Hearst Castle was built on a 250,000 acre ranch that William Randolph
George Hearst, originally purchased in 1865.
Construction began in 1919 and continued through 1947, when Hearst
at the estate due to ill health. San Francisco architect Julia
Morgan designed most of the buildings.
Hearst was an inveterate tinkerer, and would tear down structures and
rebuild them at a whim,
so the estate was never completed in his lifetime.
is a pastiche of historic architectural styles that Hearst admired in
around Europe. The main house is modeled after a 16th century
Spanish cathedral, while the
outdoor pool features a mock temple front based on ancient Roman
Hearst furnished the estate with truckloads of art, antiques, and even
whole ceilings that he
acquired en masse from the great houses of Europe.
Castle was like a small self-contained city, with 56 bedrooms, 61
19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, one indoor and one outdoor
swimming pool, tennis courts,
a movie theater, an airfield, and the world's largest private zoo.
to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920's
The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into
the estate's airfield or taking
a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles.
Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Calvin
Winston Churchill were among Hearst's A-list guests.
theater usually screened films from Hearst's own movie studio,
Hearst Castle became so famous that it was parodied in the
1941 Orson Welles film CITIZEN KANE
as Charles Foster Kane's "Xanadu."
prescribed strict rules for his guests despite the presence of his own
the actress Marion Davies, on the property.
Though Hearst remained legally married until his death in 1951, his
wife Millicent Hearst
visited San Simeon only occasionally after they separated in the
the Hearst Corporation to the State of California in 1957, Hearst
Castle is now
a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark, open for
In September of 2005, I visted Hearst Castle, spending 2 days taking 4
of the daily tours
offered by the National Park Service.
CLICK HERE to view
a series of photos taken during that visit.