This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Hearst Castle

On the third day of our trip we got up really early, had some breakfast and headed up into the hills of San Simeon to tour Mr. Hearst's little house.....
Did I say little? Yea, right! This place is the biggest home I have ever seen! It was built in 1919 by William Randolf Hearst and is called the Hearst Castle. He was born into money and became an American newspaper magnate and leading newspaper publisher. He originally just wanted to build a little bungalow on the hill at San Simeon. His father owned the property and he used to go up into the hills and camp, but he got tired of camping. He decided that he would build a little house that he could stay in rather than sleeping out under the stars. Within a month of discussions with architect Julia Morgan, Hearst's original idea for a modest dwelling swelled to grand proportions.
Eric, Hayden and Grayson checking out the gorgeous view of the ocean from the castle.
One thing led to another and it ended up being a huge beautiful mansion. These are the stairs leading to the guest houses.
First lets check out the pool. Nothing is left to chance, everything is thought out and beautiful! Just look at the handles of the steps to get into the pool. They are made of solid marble.
This pool is absolutely gorgeous. It is called a Neptune pool and it is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide at the alcove. It ranges from 3.5 feet deep to 10 feet deep. He had the 17th century Italian statues shipped over here, they are so amazing.
More beautiful marble statues.
Each tile was chosen by Mr. Hearst. Notice that there are tiles under each step.
Another view of the gorgeous pool.
These lights were all over the property and each lamp shade is made of carved alabaster. They are truly beautiful.
Here's the exterior of one of the three guest houses.
We got to tour one of the guest houses. He had many, many guests and many of them were big celebrities from the era such as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, the Fords, the Rockefellers, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Jean Harlow, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, plus many more.
More of the beautiful light fixtures and another marble statue.
A beautiful courtyard and with a breathtaking view.
Here's the main house, Casa Grande.
Isn't it huge! I can see why they call it the Hearst "Castle". We learned on the tour that when Mr. Hearst was a boy he traveled extensively throughout the world with his mother and he developed a true love of beautiful art. He tried to reproduce the look of some of the castles he saw and he shipped a vast amount of priceless art pieces to be displayed in his home.
Nothing is left untouched. He paid attention to every little detail. Just look at the beautiful carved marble all around the front doors.
A beautiful pond in one of the many courtyards.
Finally we get to go inside Casa Grande, and Grande it certainly is!!! He had this fireplace shipped over from England.
There were fabulous antiques everywhere.
These are old church pews from a 17th century church.
The carved pews line each side of the gigantuous fireplace.
Here's the main dining room. Many parties were given in this room.
I especially loved this Madonna and child carving in the dining room.
Here's one of the parlors. The walls were lined with 15th to 17th century tapestries from Spain and other countries.
And the last thing we saw on our tour was the other pool, the indoor pool. It's absolutely stunning!
It is covered entirely in mosaic tiles. There are stars at the bottom of the pool.
More alabaster lights and marble statues.
He built in a 12 foot diving ledge. You had to swim inside the alcove to get to the stairs that lead up to the ledge.
And here's another fabulous carved marble ladder to get in and out of the pool.
This man had tons of money and had a gorgeous place to live and play, but did that make him happy? I'm not so sure. He separated from his wife in the mid 1920s and he had a mistress living on the estate (Marion Davies). They say that the 1941 movie Citizen Cane was loosely based on his life, which he was not happy about and he used all his resources and influence in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the film's release.
The Hearst publishing empire reached a revenue peak in 1928, but the economic collapse of the Great Depression and the vast over-extension of his empire cost Mr. Hearst control of his holdings. Newspapers and other properties were liquidated, the film company shut down; there was even a well-publicized sale of art and antiquities. While World War II restored circulation and advertising revenues, his great days were over. He lived on the estate from 1919 until 1947 when he was forced to leave due to his ailing health. Hearst died of a heart attack in 1951, aged eighty-eight. His own summary of his life was this: “I am a man who could have been great but wasn’t.”
That's the end of our tour of the Hearst Castle. It's a nice place to look at, but truly, I would not want to live there! We had such a fun time at this beautiful estate, but now, lets get back on the road and on with our trip!
Next stop.....Huntington Beach!
We have driven down through LA many times and I am always so shocked to see six or more lanes of traffic going one direction! It is so different than my little one traffic stop town! LOL! But this time, we were so pleasantly surprised at how light the traffic was! We made excellent time. Tomorrow I will be sharing our friends Mike and Rhochelle's house!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Hugs, Sharon


Rebecca said...

I grew up in Cali but never had the pleasure of seeing this "castle" until!

Beautiful indeed. But...I can't help but WONDER what all could have been done with this man's great wealth...


Amy said...

Thank you so much for the reminder to follow your new blog. I enjoy reading your blog...maybe because I learn so much from you in mothering boys? :) You saw some great historical places on your trip. I admit, I'm a little jealous...I LOVE seeing old homes and all the history that goes with them. Something my boys aren't into yet. ;)

Heather said...

I want to come on vacation with you all! love the Winchester Mansion and the Hearst Castle. so different and both beautiful in their own way. Wow!

Mardell said...

Hi Sharon ~ boy, I sure wish I could have snuck inside your suitcase for that trip! I've never heard of the Hearst Castle. Magnificent! You should be a tour guide ~ you described everything so well! :o) I have a friend who lives in Huntington Beach. Oh my, I don't think I could ever drive on a 6 lane highway. I'd be the one in the furthest right hand lane driving the s-l-o-w-e-s-t. (With everyone honking at me ~ ha ha.)

gin said...

another fun day with a beautiful castle.

Elena said...

What a great tour! I would like to see it one day.

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