Scenic USA - California

Hearst Castle

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Hearst Castle Pool - Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Photo by Rodney Walker
Inset photos by Gary O'Toole

     William Randolph Hearst, famous American Hearst Castle Grand Entrance - San Simeon, California publisher, inherited an immense 250,000 acre tract of ranchland on the south-central coast of California, perched high above the Pacific Ocean overlooking San Simeon. One section, which Hearst called La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill), was used by family and friends for camping. The area took on the nickname of Camp Hill, and later was simply referred to as the Ranch. Not happy with a tent arrangement, William Hearst spoke with Hearst Castle Entrance - San Simeon, California architect Julia Morgan, offering a suggestion that she design a little something.
      Beginning their collaboration in 1919, both Hearst and Morgan transformed the hilltop campsite into the world-famous Hearst Castle. Today the state historic monument features the Hearst Castle, a magnificent 115-room main house, and additional guesthouses, pools and lavish gardens. The main house, La Casa Grande, is made up of four main sections, including this luxurious Roman pool. The indoor pool was modeled after a 3rd century Roman bath. One inch square tiles (smalti) cover the interior area. A majority of the tiles are blue, orange and clear. The special clear tile are infused with gold and cast a shimmering glow when the sun enters the large end wall windows. Hearst Castle Bedroom Mantel - San Simeon, California The statues are carved from marble, representations of the wonderful sculptures of the ancient Greek and Romans.
     After the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst died in 1951, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Maintained as a state historic park, the majority of the estate, including its vast collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its distant location from any urban center, the National Historic Landmark sees nearly a million visitors a year. The tour program, including 15-minute bus rides to and from the hilltop, offers three guided daytime tours and one evening tour.

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