Several years ago I visited the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA while traveling north to San Francisco. My wife and I were visiting our son who was working for MDS rebuilding houses that were destroyed by fire in Julian, CA. While there, I read about the Hearst Castle and became very interested so off we went. We were able to join the first tour of the day, which included the downstairs of the main house and several of the outlying houses. I was most captivated by the brilliance of the architect, Julia Morgan.
Some years later I was very fortunate to meet the director of the Hearst Castle, Hoyt Fields. Hoyt invited me back to the San Simeon for a behind the scenes tour of the Castle. I filed away his card and finally had an occasion to look him up. Two of my newfound friends, Tim Wickman and Julie Hoffman joined me on my adventure to San Simeon.
As the ranger cleared us thru the gate, we began our five mile drive from the visitor’s center up to the castle. Words can’t begin to describe the sense of awe we felt as we pondered how the distinguished guests must have felt as they began their ascent up the hill. Hoyt met us by the main house and the magical day began. Walking towards Guesthouse C, he pointed out a carved stone Egyptian statue, which was carved some 6,000 years ago, before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.
Hoyt delighted us with his wealth of knowledge in so many different areas, if I had to rate the tour guide that I was privileged to encounter on my first visit, I would have given him a 100%. Hoyt however, was clearly in a completely different category. After 43 years at the Hearst Castle it was clear he spent many hours studying and researching the property, W.R. Hearst, his family and Julia Morgan, the architect that worked extensively on this project.
The celestial bedrooms were amazing, the office and library were spectacular, yet one can only begin to get a sense of how incredibly talented Julia Morgan was. It was Ms. Morgan who sifted thru all of the antique furnishings and millwork, and then created a space complete with period furnishings that gives one the feeling of being in 15th century Europe. Yet Julia didn’t see herself the way we see her today, after the completion of each job, she would destroy her drawings because she saw them as worthless. However, her drawings for the Hearst Castle are still in existence today because Mr. Hearst kept them at the ranch during the building process.
I heard a rather famous architect speak some time ago; I remember clearly his challenge to the audience to continually subject themselves to creative simulation. It helps to constantly improve and expand our creative talents. Visiting the Hearst Castle made me realize how much I appreciate the creativity of talented designers and reignited my passion for innovative design. I along with that architect challenge you to continually subject yourself to creative stimulation; it is worth it…