Hearst San Simeon Estate

  • Also Known As: Hearst San Simeon Estate
  • Also Known As: Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument
  • Also Known As: La Cuesta Encantada

  • Address: CA 1
  • Vicinity: 3 mi NE of San Simeon, 39 mi NE San Luis Obispo
  • Hours: Opens Daily at 8:15, closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day
  • Phone: (800) 444-4445
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Building

Begun in 1919, this princely estate situated on La Cuesta Encantada near San Simeon was to be a permanent family residence, a place of retreat, and a showcase for the many art treasures amassed by William Randolf Hearst. With the assistance of architect Julia Morgan, a protege of his mother and graduate of the Paris School of Beaux Arts, Hearst constructed a cluster of buildings that includes the magnificent Hispano-Moresque mansion, La Casa Grande. Hearst expanded the mansion steadily in order to display his ever-growing collection of priceless artifacts. - NPS

La Cuesta Encantada, "The Enchanted Hill" high above the ocean at San Simeon, was the creation of two extraordinary individuals, William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. Their collaboration, which began in 1919 and continued for nearly 30 years, transformed an informal hilltop campsite into the world-famous Hearst Castle - a magnificent 115-room main house plus guesthouses, pools, and 8 acres of cultivated gardens. The main house itself, "La Casa Grande" is a grand setting for Hearst's collection of European antiques and art pieces. It was also a most fitting site for hosting the many influential guests who stayed at Hearst's San Simeon ranch. Guests included President Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, Charles Lindbergh, Charlie Chaplin and a diverse array of luminaries from show business and publishing industries. - Ca State Parks



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1919/00/00 William Randolph Hearst Owner Along the rugged coast of central California, newspaper publisher William R Hearst makes plans for improving his sprawling ranch by building something more comfortable than the tents he and his family have used over the years.
1920/00/00 Julia Morgan Architect Hearst replaces tents with cottages. Concrete work is completed on three guest houses, which occupy the traditional Hearst family campground high in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
1924/03/31 William Randolph Hearst Home, Architect Letter to Julia Morgan: I am sending back the plan of the temple garden with the suggestion that we make the pool longer than it is, as long as a swimming pool. Mrs Hearst and the children are extremely anxious to have a swimming pool! WRH
1925/00/00 Camille Solon Artist Designed and painted by Camille Solon, The Gothic Suite consists of W R Hearst's private space. The 14C ceiling in Hearst's bedroom is from the House of Jews at Teruel, Aragon, Spain.
1926/00/00 Marion Cecilia Davies Home From 1926 until they leave in 1947, Hearst's mistress Marion Davies acts as his chatelaine at Hearst Castle.
1926/00/00 At San Simeon, two huge oak trees stand in the way of a new recreation wing. Hearst hires miners to tunnel under the 200-year-old trees, so they can be moved and transplanted.
1929/00/00 Louella Parsons Visitor A champion of Hearst's mistress Marion Davies, Louella Parsons visits William Randolph Hearst at San Simeon.
1929/00/00 Louis B Mayer Visitor Mr and Mrs Louis B Mayer visit William Randolph Hearst at San Simeon.
1929/09/29 William Randolph Hearst Host Winston Churchill is lavishly entertained in California by William Randolph Hearst. Winston Churchill's 1929 North American Tour
1929/09/29 Winston Churchill Visitor Winston Churchill is lavishly entertained in California by William Randolph Hearst. Winston Churchill's 1929 North American Tour
1930/02/00 Calvin Coolidge Visitor President and Mrs Coolidge stay at William Hearst's castle.
1934/00/00 Camille Solon Artist Built 1927-1934, the Roman pool is decorated with glass tiles, either colored or clear with fused gold, in designs created by Camille Solon. The inspiration for some of these designs came from the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.
1947/00/00 Construction on La Cuesta Encantada ceases.

Data »

Particulars for Hearst San Simeon Estate:
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Area of Significance Art
Sight Category Building
Area of Significance Communications
Area of Significance Landscape Architecture
Architectural Style Late 19th and 20th century revivals
Other Description Mediterranean Renaissance
Level of Significance National
Historic Use Outdoor recreation
Criteria Person
Area of Significance Politics-government
Historic Use Secondary structure
Historic Use Single dwelling
Area of Significance Social History
Owner State

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 22nd June 1972

Registry Name: Hearst San Simeon Estate
Registry Address: 3 mi. NE of San Simeon
Registry Number: 72000253
Resource Type: Building
Owner: State
Architect: Hearst,William Randolph; Morgan,Julia
Architectural Style: Late 19th and 20th century revivals, Other
Attribute: Mediterranean Renaissance
Area in Acres: 127
Contributing Buildings: 4
Non-Contributing Buildings: 6
Contributing Structures: 3
Other Certification: Designated National Landmark
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Nominator Name: National Historic Landmark
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Landscape architecture, Art, Politics-government, Architecture, Social history, Communications
Applicable Criteria: Architecture-Engineering, Person
Period of Significance: 1900-1924, 1950-1974, 1925-1949
Significant Year: 1919, 1951
Associated People: Hearst,William Randolph
Historic Function: Domestic, Recreation and Culture
Historic Sub-Function: Outdoor recreation, Single dwelling, Secondary structure
Current Function: Recreation and Culture
Current Sub-Function: Museum

Creative Works »

Activities »

Hearst Castle Museum Tours

Reservations are always strongly recommended. Tour reservations can generally be made up to 7 to 8 weeks in advance.

All daytime tours also include a ticket for our exclusive 40-minute film Hearst Castle - Building the Dream, shown on a five-story screen at the Visitor Center's Hearst Castle Theater. This fascinating glimpse behind the scenes is shown all day at forty-five minute intervals. The first screening begins at 8:15 am.

All tours of this California historical landmark and attraction view the Castle's two spectacular swimming pools - the outdoor Neptune Pool and the indoor Roman Pool. - Ca State Parks

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