Hearst Castle: La Cuesta Enchantada

SAN SIMEON, Calif. — Hearst named his mansion La Cuesta Enchantada (or The Enchanted Hill), but it is commonly referred to as Hearst Castle.

The Casa Grande that stands atop the hillside, the symbol of the mansion, features two towers were inspired by the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor in Ronda, Spain.

The Castle is filled with Hearst’s collection of treasures from around the world, ranging from medieval tapestries to Renaissance furniture to 19th century sculptures. But, perhaps the most intriguing element of the mansion is Neptune Pool , which features the façade of an ancient Roman temple as its centerpiece.

“The relationship between the gardens and the land symbolizes the remarkable collaboration between Julia Morgan and W.R. Hearst,” Victoria Kastner said in a news release. Kastner released a book, “Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land,” this year.

“We really cannot understand the Castle without understanding the location,” Kastner added. “In essence, I have been writing this story for the past 30 years, and it wasn’t until lecturing internationally that I realized the importance and relationship of the gardens and the land – the most significant components driving the collaborative efforts of Julia Morgan and W.R. Hearst. It is this spirit of the Hearst family and their attachment to the outdoors that the photographer, Victoria Garagliano, captured so exquisitely.”

Over the years a number of celebrities and politicians have visited Hearst Castle, including Charlie Chaplin, Charles Lindbergh, President Calvin Coolidge and Winston Churchill. It’s been said that Hearst Castle was the inspiration for Xanadu in Orson Well’s “Citizen Cane,” which itself was supposedly inspired by Hearst himself.

The Hearst Corp. donated the site to the state of California, which operates the facility as a state park. Hearst Castle has been on the National Register of Historical Places since 1972.

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Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.