Thursday, July 9, 2009

W.R. Hearst

[indoor pool]



[ The Castle]

[a guest house]


[gardens and I really like this lamp]


[the other pool]




[looking up at the guest houses]



Mike and I went to Hearst Castle knowing only that my parents went there once and got their picture taken in front of a fake castle background and really liked a pool. Other than that we were going in there blind, which made for the place FAR exceeding our expectations, however there were a few things that we could have been told by the 18 ladies working the information booth as we walked in and asked them what to do.


1. If you are a first timer - go on tour #1 first. They call it tour number one for a reason and I don't exactly know all the stuff that you get to see, but you probably won't get a weird look from the guide when you tell them as you start tour # 3 that it's your first time here. Luckily, we learn quickly and didn't really know what we were missing.

2. He owned zebras on his land that are still there today, so if you are lucky - like we were - drive south and look to the left and hopefully you can see some wild zebras.

3. Tour #4 doesn't take you inside any building. I think you just get to see the gardens, which you get to walk past anyways, so if I were you, I'd hold out for Tour 1,2, or 3 to make the $24 entry fee the most bang for your buck.

And now, to my take:

William Randolph Hearst built this house with a very patient and wonderful architect that had to put up with Bill changing his mind every day. The thing that I really liked is that he didn't want his 65,000 sq. foot home to seem like a museum (and really, who would?!) so he decorated with some run of the mill target items of the day and then expensive antiques and worldly items all together. I think that is a lesson that everyone should live by, William was one of the most, if not, the most wealthy man of his day, yet if he found something that was neat and cheap, he used it in his home, yet everything looked so sweet and put together.

I mentioned that he changed his mind...A LOT, so much so that he wanted a 4 lane bowling alley in the basement, which meant that the foundation actually had to be reconstructed and pushed out, after the house was built.

You know, what's funny, this house was created during The Great Depression. If there's one thing to learn about how to make your millions, you don't have to have some lofty ornate idea. William sold newspapers. A lot of newspapers, but still...and the indoor pool was created with 2 weeks worth of his income - which was a just a mere $400,000!

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