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The Neptune Pool
Hearst Castle is a National and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947 for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. The California Park Commission voted to approve its inclusion in the California State Park System, and that was approved by the California State Legislature in 1954. However, ironing out the details with the Trustees of the Hearst Estate and the Hearst Corporation took several years. Agreement was finalized in 1957, and it opened in 1958. Since that time it has been maintained within the Hearst San Simeon State Park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts “millions of travelers each year”.
Hearst formally named the estate “La Cuesta Encantada” (“The Enchanted Hill”), but usually called it “the ranch”. Hearst Castle and grounds are also sometimes referred to as “San Simeon” without distinguishing between the Hearst property and the adjacent unincorporated area of the same name.
Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate’s airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Among Hearst’s A-list guests were Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left to their own devices during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. Since “the Ranch” had so many facilities, guests were rarely at a loss for things to do. The estate’s theater usually screened films from Hearst’s own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions.
Hearst Castle was the inspiration for the “Xanadu” mansion of the 1941 Orson Welles film Citizen Kane, a fictionalization of William Randolph Hearst’s career. Hearst Castle was not used as a location for the film, which used Oheka Castle in New York, as well as buildings in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Commercial filming is rare at Hearst Castle and most requests are turned down.