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Hearst Castle

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Title: Hearst Castle  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: William Randolph Hearst, White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area, Cambria State Marine Conservation Area, Hollywood Studio Club, Hearst San Simeon State Park
Collection: Castles in California, Gardens in California, Gothic Revival Architecture in California, Hearst Family, Hearst Family Residences, Historic House Museums in California, History of California, History of San Luis Obispo County, California, Houses Completed in 1947, Houses in California, Houses in San Luis Obispo County, California, Institutions Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Julia Morgan Buildings, Landscape Design History of the United States, Mediterranean Revival Architecture in California, Museums in San Luis Obispo County, California, National Historic Landmarks in California, National Register of Historic Places in San Luis Obispo County, California, Neoclassical Architecture in California, Open-Air Museums in California, Protected Areas Established in 1957, Santa Lucia Range, Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture in California, Spanish Revival Architecture in California, State Parks of California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hearst Castle

Hearst San Simeon Estate
The Casa Grande is the 60,645 square-foot centerpiece of Hearst Castle.
Nearest city San Simeon, California, USA
Area More than 90,000 sq ft (8,400 m2)
Built 1919[2]
Architect Julia Morgan
Architectural style Mediterranean Revival, other late 19th and 20th century Revivals
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 72000253[3]
CHISL # 640[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 22, 1972
Designated CHISL April 28, 1958

Hearst Castle is a

  • Official website
  • Hearst Castle Virtual Tour
  • California State Parks web page
  • The Mosaics of Hearst Castle
  • Hearst Castle Press
  • National Geographic Theater at Hearst Castle – Featuring the Hearst Castle Experience

External links

  • Lewis, O. (1958). Fabulous San Simeon; a history of the Hearst Castle, a Calif. state monument located on the scenic coast of Calif., together with a guide to the treasures on display. San Francisco: California Historical Society.
  • Collord, M., & Miller, A. (1972). Castle fare: featuring authentic recipes served in Hearst Castle. San Luis Obispo, CA: Blake Printery.
  • Boulian, D. M. (1972). Enchanted gardens of Hearst Castle. Cambria, Calif: Phildor Press.
  • Martin, C. (1977). Hearst Castle: mythology, legend, history in art. Cambria, Calif: Galatea Publications.
  • Coffman, T. (1985).
  • Morgan, J., Hearst, W. R., & Loe, N. E. (1987). San Simeon revisited: the correspondence between architect Julia Morgan and William Randolph Hearst. San Luis Obispo, Calif: Library Associates, California Polytechnic State University.
  • Blades, J., Nargizian, R. A., & Carr, G. (1993). The Hearst Castle collection of carpets: fine rug reproductions. Santa Barbara, Calif: Jane Freeburg.
  • Kastner, V. (1994). Remains to be seen: remains of Spanish ceilings at Hearst Castle. San Simeon, CA: Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument.
  • Loe, N. E. (1994). Hearst Castle: an interpretive history of W.R. Hearst's San Simeon estate. [S.l.]: ARA Services.
  • Sullivan, J. (1996). Castle chronicles: : "sketching around Hearst Castle". Los Osos, Calif: The Bay News?.
  • California. (2001). Hearst Castle: Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument. Sacramento, CA: California State Parks.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e f
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  5. ^
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  7. ^
  8. ^
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  10. ^ See also
  11. ^ Hearst Castle history
  12. ^
  13. ^ Garden and Vistas - Tour Information from
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Wilson: Julia Morgan: Architect of Beauty, 2007, p. xi
  17. ^ Facts and Stats from the official Hearst Castle website


See also


  • Casa del Mar: 5,875 square feet (546 m²)
  • Casa del Monte: 2,291 square feet (213 m²)
  • Casa del Sol: 2,604 square feet (242 m²)

The total square footage of the buildings on the estate exceeds 90,000 square feet (8,300 m²). The area of Casa Grande, the "castle", is 60,645 square feet (5,634 m²). The areas of the guest houses on the property are:[17]


During Hearst's ownership a private power plant supplied electricity to the remote location. Most of the estate's chandeliers have bare light bulbs, because electrical technology was so new when Hearst Castle was built.

Although Hearst Castle's ornamentation is borrowed from historic European themes, its underlying structure is primarily steel Solon & Schemmel (San Jose), Grueby Faience Company (Boston), Batchelder (Pasadena), and California Faience (Berkeley). Albert Solon and Frank Schemmel came to Hearst Castle to perform the tile work.[16]

One highlight of the estate is the outdoor Neptune Pool, located near the edge of the hilltop, which offers an expansive vista of the mountains, ocean and the main house. Due to drought conditions and leaks in the pool, it is now drained.[14][15] The Neptune Pool patio features an ancient Roman temple front, transported wholesale from Europe and reconstructed at the site. Hearst was an inveterate tinkerer, and would tear down structures and rebuild them on a whim. For example, the Neptune Pool was rebuilt three times before Hearst was satisfied. As a consequence of Hearst's persistent design changes, the estate was never completed in his lifetime.

The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle was rebuilt three times to suit its owner's tastes. Its centerpiece is the façade of an ancient Roman temple Hearst imported to California.

Hearst Castle featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres (0.5 km2)[2] of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, civil engineer, devised a gravity-based water delivery system that transports water from artesian wells on the slopes of Pine Mountain, a 3,500-foot (1,100 m) high peak 7 miles (11 km) east of Hearst Castle, to a reservoir on Rocky Butte, a 2,000-foot (610 m) knoll less than a mile southeast from Hearst Castle.[13]

Tower of the Church of Santa María la Mayor, in Ronda, Spain, which served as inspiration for the Hearst Castle towers.

The estate is a pastiche of historic architectural styles that its owner admired in his travels around Europe. Hearst was a prolific buyer who did not so much purchase art and antiques to furnish his home as he did build his home to get his bulging collection out of warehouses. This led to incongruous elements, such as the private cinema, whose walls were lined with shelves of rare books. The floor plan of the Main Building is chaotic due to his habit of buying centuries-old ceilings, which dictated the proportions and decor of various rooms.

Hearst Castle as seen from the southwest

By late summer 1919 Morgan had surveyed the site, analyzed its geology, and drawn initial plans for the Main Building. Construction began in 1919 and continued through 1947 when Hearst stopped living at the estate due to ill health.[2] Morgan persuaded Hearst to begin with the guest cottages, because the smaller structures could be completed more quickly.

After approximately one month of discussion, Hearst's original idea for a modest dwelling swelled to grand proportions. Discussion for the exterior style switched from initial ideas of Japanese and Korean themes to the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 in San Diego held the closest approaches in California to the look Hearst desired. He decided to substitute a stucco exterior in place of masonry in deference to Californian traditions.

[12] I would like to build something upon the hill at San Simeon. I get tired of going up there and camping in tents. I'm getting a little too old for that. I'd like to get something that would be a little more comfortable. Hearst first approached American architect

Owner Irvin Willat.


mansion, the location selected for Hearst Castle was undeveloped, atop a steep hill whose ascent was a dirt path accessible only by foot or on horseback over 5 miles (8 km) of cutbacks. Victorian Although the large ranch already had a [11] in 1919.Phoebe Hearst and 14 miles (23 km) of coastline, from his mother [2] Hearst Castle was built on

Hearst Castle is located near the unincorporated community of San Simeon, California, approximately 250 miles (400 km) from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, and 43 miles (69 km) from San Luis Obispo at the northern end of San Luis Obispo County. The estate itself is five miles (eight kilometers) inland atop a hill of the Santa Lucia Range at an altitude of 1,600 feet (490 m). The region is sparsely populated because the Santa Lucia Range abuts the Pacific Ocean, which provides dramatic seaside vistas but few opportunities for development and hampered transportation. The surrounding countryside visible from the mansion remains largely undeveloped. Its entrance is adjacent to San Simeon State Park.

Zebras are a popular attraction on the Hearst ranch. They are descendants from Hearst's private zoo.


Hearst Castle was included as one of America's "10 Amazing Castles" by Forbes Forbes said, "Quite possibly the nation's most famous castle, William Randolph Hearst went to great lengths to bring back the best of European architecture – most notably ceilings from churches and monasteries – which were pieced back together in California to create his highly eclectic Central Coast getaway."[10]

Hearst Castle joined the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1972 and became a United States National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976.

One condition of the Hearst Corporation's donation of the estate was that the Hearst family would be allowed to use it when they wished. Travel Channel show on the estate, and Amanda Hearst modeled for a fashion photo shoot at the estate for a Hearst Corporation magazine, Town and Country, in 2006.

Spanish style guest house, designed by Julia Morgan

Hearst Castle was the inspiration for the "Xanadu" mansion of the 1941 Orson Welles film Citizen Kane, a fictionalization of William Randolph Hearst's career.[7] Hearst Castle was not used as a location for the film, which used Oheka Castle in New York, as well as buildings in San Diego's Balboa Park. Commercial filming is rare at Hearst Castle and most requests are turned down. Since the property was donated to the state of California only two projects have been granted permission: Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, which used the castle to stand in as Crassus' villa; and Lady Gaga's music video for "G.U.Y."[8][9]

Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. 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. Among Hearst's A-list guests were Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left to their own devices during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. Since "the Ranch" had so many facilities, guests were rarely at a loss for things to do. The estate's theater usually screened films from Hearst's own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions.



  • History 1
  • Location 2
  • Design 3
  • Size 4
  • Gallery 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
  • External links 9

Hearst formally named the estate "La Cuesta Encantada" ("The Enchanted Hill"), but usually called it "the ranch". Hearst Castle and grounds are also sometimes referred to as "San Simeon" without distinguishing between the Hearst property and the adjacent unincorporated area of the same name. The term "Castle" is a bit of a misnomer when it refers to Hearst Castle, as it is really a group of mansions.

[6] where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts "millions of travelers each year".Hearst San Simeon State Park Since that time it has been maintained within the [5] took several years. Agreement was finalized in 1957, and it opened in 1958.Hearst Corporation However, ironing out the details with the Trustees of the Hearst Estate and the [4], who died in 1951. The California Park Commission voted to approve its inclusion in the California State Park System, and that was approved by the California State Legislature in 1954 (with a proposed admission charge of $1 per person [$9 adjusted for inflation] and a 50¢ bus ride.William Randolph Hearst for newspaper magnate [2]

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