Return to Hearst Castle

In the early 1960’s,when my husband and I were newly married . . .

 Sandy and Bob

. . . we drove leisurely up spectacular Highway 1 to visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.

 The ocean on the way to Hearst Castle

Fifty-seven years later, to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday, we decided to return.

 Hearst Castle in the Fog

A fog bank greeted us as we approached the entry to Hearst Castle. 

While it gave El Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill) a magical aura, it played havoc with my hair.

 Stairs in front of Hearst Castle
 The front of Hearst Castle

And it didn’t get better as the day progressed.

 Sandra on road around Hearst Castle

I feel if one is visiting a castle, one should dress for the occasion. 

So I wore this Alta Striped Jacket by F.H. Clothing company from the  Artfulhome.com Holiday Collection and felt as though I fit right in. 

In fact, this stylish top would look great in a castle, a bistro or a diner.

 Standing in front of the Three Graces

The skirted leggings, also from ArtfulHome, added an element of je ne sais quoi

I hope that ifHearst and Marion Davies had been in residence they would have approved of my stylish, yet comfortable outfit.

This magical place had its beginning when George Hearst, William’s father, made his money from gold, silver and copper mines. He purchased more than 66,000 acres of land adjacent to San Simeon Bay. The family enjoyed spending time at what they called, “theranch”.They would travel by horseback,climb up to the top of the hill and camp in tents.Hearst eventually inherited all of this land and later acquired many thousands of additional acres.

 Hills surrounding Hearst Castle

William Randolph Hearst eventually became one of the countries richest and most controversial newspapermen, owning nearly 30 newspapers which, for a period of time, earned him $50,000 a day.

 William Randolph Hearst sitting on a ledge.

Because of his many trips to Europe and education in the arts, he decided he was tired of living in tents and wanted to “build something a little different than other people were doing in California.” He hired a woman architect, a friend of his mother's, Julia Morgan.  And so it began, eventually growing to well over one hundred rooms and three “cottages.”

 Construction of Hearst Castle

Throughout his life, Hearst dreamed of building a dwelling similar to those he had seen on his European tour as a boy. Hearst Castle was to become the realization of this dream as he and architect Julia Morgan collaborated for 28 years to construct a castle worthy of those he saw in Europe. While the Castle was never completely finished, it stands as the remarkable achievement of one man’s dream.

 Aerial view of Hearst Castle

In addition to his brilliant business endeavors, Mr.Hearst amassed a vast and impressive art collection thatincluded American and European Old Master paintings, sculptures, tapestries, oriental rugs, Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities, silver, furniture and historic ceilings. 

 Sandra in front of marble bust
 Dining room and Living room at Hearst Castle
 Gold leaf ceilings
 Bedrooms at Hearst Castle
 Lounge and library at Hearst castle
 Interior swimming pool at Hearst Castle
 Outdoor Neptune pool at Hearst Castle
 Hands in the air

Hearst, with his millions, also became a film producer and involved with the actress, Marion Davies.

 Hearst and Davies photo

Davies’ career as afilm comedian was flourishing when she and Hearst began a romantic relationship in the 1920’s that would last until his death in 1951. He also managed her career and financed many of her features while promoting her heavily through his newspapers and Hearst Newsreels.

Unfortunately for Davies, she is mostlyremembered today as Hearst's mistress and the hostess of many lavish events for the Hollywood elite.

This relationship brought many Hollywood stars to the castle. In those days they had to arrive by boat or plane. There was no Highway 1 or Highway 101.

And the parties went on and on and on...

 Marion Davies, Clark Gable and Betty Grable, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and WR Hearst

Marion Davies, Clark Gable and Betty Grable                        Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and WR Hearst

While visiting, George Bernard Shaw is supposed to have told Hearst that his castle was “what heaven would be like if God had your money."

 Charlie Chaplin. Marion Davies and George Bernard Shaw

Hearst was always overspending and nearly went broke. He had amassed around 87 million dollars in debt in creating his Castle that had 56 bedrooms, 621 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theatre, airfield and the worlds largest private zoo!

The bank was going to foreclose on Hearst Castle, but Marion sold her jewelry, liquidated stocks and gave him a million dollars so he could keep the ranch. She even convinced a friend to give him another million dollars. 

When Hearst died, he left his estate to her as a sign of his love and gratitude for bailing him out. In a reciprocal act of love, Marion sold her entire inheritanceback to the Hearst family for $1. 

 Marion Davies

She once said, “God I’d give everything I have to marry that silly old man. Not for the money and security-he’s given me more than I’ll ever need. Not because he’s such cozy company, either. Most times he starts jawing, he bores me stiff. And certainly not because he’s so wonderful behind the barn. No, you know what he gives me? Sugar! He givesme the feeling I’m worth something to him — he snores, and he can be petty, and has sons about as old as me. But he’s kind and he’s good to me and I’ll never walk out on him.”

It really is a love story.

 Statue at Hearst Castle

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