Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hearst Castle

Second Stop...
The spectacular Hearst Castle! The Opulence and magnificent history of the Castle grounds are absolutley astounding.

William Hearst was a newspaper tycoon, cattle owner, and heir to one of the wealthiest men in the world. His father struck it rich during the California Gold rush, when he found not gold, but silver ore. As a child William Hearst gained inspiration when he and his young mother (19 to be exact!) traveled the world. He began collecting artwork, and by the age of his late 40s decided to build a home on the land he grew up in: The Hills of San Simeon. 28 years later, having faced seemingly insurmountable architectural obstacles, Hearst Castle was finished. Hearst originally referred to the estate as, "La Cuesta Encantada," meaning the enchanted hill.

A small view of "La Casa Grande" (the big house). The name is quite appropriate considering it has 38 bedrooms, 42 bathrooms, 30 fireplaces, and is a total of 68,500 square feet. It is the largest of the 4 homes on the estate.
Architectural details on the facade of La Casa Grande.

There are numerous tapestries, paintings, and other heirlooms all of which are originals and in pristine condition. Hearst spent a total of 10,000,000 dollars both building the Castle and furnishing it. (Keep in mind this was in the 1920's!)

 Part of Heart's art collection included custom cielings. These are coffered, wooden cielings each containing a life-sized figurine of a Saint.
Life-sized figurine of the Virgin Mary, adorned with putti (Cherub figures).

Hearst also had his own personal movie theater. The room was a red velvet color, with the aisles of the theater flanked with larger than life figurines carrying what look like glowing red tropical flowers.


They showed a collection of clips that gave a better idea of the kind of lifestyle William Hearst lived. It showed him goofing off with his celebrity friends including Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin, and a variety of wild animals that were a part of his own personal zoo (the largest in the country) which included Polar Bears, Buffalo, Tigers, Ostriches, African Goats, and many more.

When Hearst became bankrupt (he was a few hundred million dollars in debt) the first thing to go was the zoo. One of his daughers was so upset that her favorite animals, the zebras, would be sent to the confinement of a zoo, so she let them free! To this day there are still zebras roaming for hundreds of acres along the coastline along with cattle which the Hearst family still owns. There are also still African goats which graze with the deer. We saw a few on our way up to the castle!

The gardens of the estate are surrounded with an array of colorful flowers--bougainvillea, tulips,  gladiolus,  dhalias, petunias, pansies, sweet peas, hollyhocks, roses, marigolds, and carnations--just to name a few!

 A playful statue coquettishly offering a lamb some corn.


The Neptune Pool

Mermaid figurines in the pool

Corinthian Capitals

Coffered Cielings



 The indoor Roman Pool

I apologize for the bombardment of pictures! (I tried to pick the best ones). The Castle is truly is a remarkable place.  You can take a virtual tour of certain parts of the estate by clicking here. If you’re an art historian, art/architecture enthusiast, or simply enjoy looking at beautiful landscapes, then you’re in for a treat!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...