SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – California State Parks announced Thursday that the world-renowned Hearst Castle House Museum will reopen to the public on May 11 after the COVID-19 pandemic and rain damage caused it to close. two years.
“Hearst Castle is a state treasure and we are thrilled to reopen this wonder to the public for safe and responsible enjoyment,” said Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks.
“We are confident that these one-of-a-kind repairs and upgrades to the roadside facility will serve countless generations to come.”
William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan spent nearly 30 years transforming an informal hilltop campsite above the ocean in San Simeon into the crown jewel of San Luis Obispo County: Hearst Castle .
The estate consists of a main house with 115 rooms, guest houses, swimming pools and eight hectares of cultivated gardens.
The main house, known as “La Casa Grande,” houses Hearst’s art collection and has hosted high-profile guests such as President Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin, according to California Parks Superintendent Dan Fatal.
“They say Hearst Castle is an already dazzling crown jewel of San Luis Obispo County, and I couldn’t agree more – and Hearst Castle is not only a fascinating place to visit, it serves as the backbone of North County’s economy,” said California Senator John Laird.
“So, I couldn’t be happier that it’s reopened, with a safer and more rewarding experience for residents and tourists alike. I want to thank State Parks for their diligent work in reopening the castle. The spirits of William Randolph Hearst and castle architect Julia Morgan are surely high today.”
While Hearst Castle was closed, crews embarked on a 10-month project to make the access road safer for visitors, Falat said.
Visitors to the castle must take a steep and winding 8km road, with rocky outcrops and one-way sections on the upper part of the road, he added.
Crews worked to rebuild the upper 2.25 miles of the road, stripping old asphalt and recycling it into thicker, stronger pavement.
Concrete retaining walls were installed and 100-year-old clay culverts were replaced, according to Falat. The entire project was estimated at $13.7 million.
As part of the castle’s delayed 100th anniversary, California State Parks will offer a new tour called “The Julie Morgan Tour”, taking an in-depth look at Morgan’s life and career.
Tour reservations can be made beginning March 31 at HearstCastle.org or by calling 800-444-4445.