My dad and step mom came to visit Robby and me. We spent the weekend in San Simeon and took a trip to the Hearst Castle. This place was spectacular, with all its exquisite detail and amazing sculptures everywhere!
In 1919 William Randolph Hearst hired Julia Morgan to design a main building and 3 guesthouses for his ranch. Hearst had been staying on the ranch in platform tents and wanted her to build “something that would be more comfortable”
Julia Morgan was an architect from San Francisco, and throughout her career she designed nearly 800 projects in California and Hawaii.
The Castle took over 28 years to build; Morgan oversaw almost every aspect of the construction at Hearst Castle. She also purchased everything from Spanish antiquities to Icelandic Moss to reindeer for the Castle’s zoo. She personally designed in detail most of the structures, grounds, pools, animal shelters.
Hearst had created the largest private zoo in the world. There were several species of African and Asian antelope, zebras, camels, sambar deer from India, red deer from Europe, axis deer from Asia, llamas, kangaroos, ostriches, emus, Barbary sheep, Alaskan big horned sheep, musk oxen, yaks and giraffes.
Hearst named the land “La Cuesta Encantada” – The Enchanted Hill. In 1947, the estate was created, and this consisted of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. The main house, named “Casa Grande,” and the three guesthouses are of Mediterranean Revival style, and a Spanish cathedral inspired the towers.
Marble Relief at entrance
All the details are amazing
Hearst loved to host parties, he had guests like the Mayor of New York City, Hollywood movie stars from Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and the Marx Brothers, not to mention politicians like President Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. They would fill the castles 56 bedrooms. After dinner the guest’s would dress up in colorful costumes and danced, as a band would play under the stars. At midnight there would be a fireworks show.
In the morning the guest’s would enjoy the gardens, play tennis, swim in the Neptune pool, go horseback riding and feed the animals.
Hearst called this room the Refectory, the term for a monastery-dining hall. This is where all the meals were served. This was his favorite place in the castle.
The huge table sat 80 people. Mr. Hearst sat in the middle, his newest guest sat near Hearst so he could talk to them. Every night the guest would move down a seat and when a guest would reach the end they new it was time to go.
The Castle was decorated with actual ceilings, doors and walls from European churches, monasteries and castles.
One of the guest houses, amazing!
Robby and I
Sculptures all around
The Neptune pool is the largest heated pool in the world and took 12 years to build.
It is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide at alcove. It holds 345,000 gallons of water and it has oil burning heating system.
Decorating the pools and colonnades is light-veined Vermont marble , and four 17-century Italian bas-reliefs on the sides of the colonnades.
The David Fountain
Marble relief to the entrance of the Neptune Pool
The Roman Pool is a tiled indoor pool decorated with eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes.
Designed after an ancient Roman bath. The pool and surrounding room were built from 1927-1934. The statues are rough copies of ancient Greek and Roman statues.
The roofs and dome are covered with mosaics of night blue, powdered with stars.
The pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside.