1865, George Hearst, a wealthy miner, purchased 40,000-acres of
ranchland that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San
Simeon and Santa Rosa. In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst,
inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. By then the
ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres.
known as "Camp Hill," its wilderness offered a place for
family members and friends to "rough it" on camping trips.
Despite elaborate arrangements with separate sleeping and dining tents,
Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. His simple
instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919:
"Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch
in San Simeon and I would like to build a little something"
and Morgan's collaboration was destined to become one of the world's
greatest showplaces. As they were planning and constructing his dream
home, Hearst renamed the rocky perch from which it rose "La Cuesta
Encantada" - The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had
created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools
estate's magnificent main house, "Casa Grande," and three
guest houses are of Mediterranean Revival style, while the imposing
towers of Casa Grande were inspired by a Spanish cathedral. The blending
of the architectural style with the surrounding land, and Hearst's
superb European and Mediterranean art collection, was so seamless that
world-renowned architectural historian, Lord John Julius Norwich, was
moved to say that "Hearst Castle is a palace in every sense of the