I am sure that I am not the only person who thinks of Citizen Kane or W.R. Hearst when I hear this word. Ok, turns out that “Rosebud” is actually not connected to W.R. Hearst at all. He was born in San Francisco, where it gets freaking cold but still, no snow, so no sleds. Citizen Kane was also based not only on Hearst but also on Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick. Still, the majority of us think the movie is based mainly on Hearst. Maybe the reason is the media war Hearst started against the movie and Orson Wells himself. After the movie was released Hearst made sure that the movie wouldn’t get the exposure it needed to succeed. That is why the movie took decades to get the consideration it deserved. Hearst is considered the father of Yellow Journalism and he built his mighty empire with his newspaper business, peddling half truths and sometimes outright lies. Long before the movie was ever made, Douglas Fairbanks asked Hearst why he didn’t consider going to Hollywood and he responded: “Because you can crush a man with journalism, and you can’t with motion pictures.” Ironically, a 24 year old Orson Wells set himself out to crush the arrogant Hearst in his movie, and it make quite a big dent.
This week, on my fourth visit to Big Sur I finally visited Hearst Castle, the Xanadu of Kane. It was quite amazing, mostly to get to know a little more about Hearst, Julia Morgan (the architect that built Hearst Castle, and the first woman architect in California) and all the craziness that went into the building of the castle. I had many misconceptions about Hearst thanks to Wells.
I really don’t like taking pictures at midday but not even the harsh light stopped me from coming back home with two hundred images. Every single detail of this castle, that looks more like a cathedral, has it’s own story. I wanted to share here some of the pictures I took in this enchanted place. Hopefully these images transport you to movie like places, just make sure to place Chaplin, Greta Garbo the Marx brothers or your favorite movie personality from the roaring twenties in the setting.
Mucho amor <3 lu
The guests at the castle had it made. If you wanted, you could start the day with a tennis match and after the match, and then take a few steps down to the indoor pool, if the weather wasn’t nice enough to use the legendary “Neptune Pool”. You’ll see a picture of the other pool a couple of pics below this one.
The gold tiles on this pool were hand made with glass and a thin layer or 14k gold. Throughout the room, you can find many different patterns made from the gold tiles.
One of my favorite things about the castle was the great variety of patterns made out of tile. Indoors and outdoors the different colors and shapes are delightful.
Below are some pictures of the dining room. Hearst wanted to “keep it simple” and made the long table pretty rustic as a reminder of the days when he used to go camping in those same hills with his parents. After all, as he said, those were some of his happiest moments.
The Neptune Pool, below, was almost dry because of some bad leaks and the Californian drought.