Rob on the Road: Hearst Castle and Ranch – KVIE

Rob on the Road: Hearst Castle and Ranch – KVIE

>>Coming up on
Rob on the Road Hearst Castle
and ranch come along on the
definitive tour of one of California’s
greatest treasures! With a Hearst expert taking
us behind closed doors of the marvelous mansion! (Gasps) California keeps taking
my breath away! And later… a private
back roads tour with the Hearst in charge of
his family’s ranch today. That is California! Rob on the Road starts now!>>And now, Rob on the Road-
exploring Northern California Welcome to a California
treasure, Hearst Castle and ranch
in San Simeon. Hearst Castle was
the country estate for media mogul
William Randolf Hearst the ranch surrounds
Hearst Castle, and is closed
to the public. But you will be joining
us on a private behind the scenes
tour hosted by William Randolf Hearst’s
great-grandson: Steve Hearst. But first let’s begin by
exploring a National and California Historic Landmark,
the place that Hearst called “La Cuesta Encantada”
The Enchanted Hill.>>We have found
the perfect guide for this show here
at Hearst Castle. Ty Smith is the Chief of
Museum Interpretations, good to see you Ty.>>Welcome to Hearst Castle.>>Thank you, it’s
great to be here. And all of that means, Chief
of Interpretations, really is that you have
access to everywhere.>>That’s right, I have the
key- I have the keys.>>[Laughs] You have the key,
you are going to show us the beauty of Hearst Castle;
you’re going to take us to the very top and
inside the vault.>>Right, we’re going to
go behind the scenes and explore all of
Hearst Castle.>>Awesome, you wanted to
start here because this is a special spot.>>Yeah, it’s really the most
fitting place to start any tour of Hearst Castle. This is where his guests
would have arrived for the first time to the castle and
they would have walked right up these stairs and the
first time they beheld the place would have
from right here.>>Well we want you to feel
like a Hearst guest today, so that’s the tour we’re
giving you- let’s go.>>Let’s go.
>>Alright, thanks.  >>Look at that, Ty!>>Yeah, it’s a
sight to behold. Probably the guests that
were here had seen everything, or so they
thought until they got here.>>So they thought, yeah.
>>Yeah, until they got here. It’s massive, y’know, over a
hundred-thousand square feet and 48 guest
accommodations and then a number of
entertaining rooms. Y’know, you have the grand
formal spaces and sitting rooms for each of the
guest accommodations, so there’s a lot
of real estate.>>I’ve seen well over a
hundred and fifty rooms for some totals.>>Yeah, I would say that’s
about accurate.>>Awesome, and this is one
of the most famous terraces, you’re going to hear the
word “view” a lot in this show, and this is why.>>Well, you have terraces
to host the views. I mean that’s their purpose,
it wasn’t just about the architecture, it was about
the way the architecture was situated within the larger
ranch here at San Simeon.>>And this is clearly why Hearst had people
come up this way.>>He expected that
you wouldn’t be spending a lot of time inside. This was functioned a lot
like a European country estate and he wanted you to
be out and about. And so he wanted you to
be walking around these terraces, he wanted you to
be out playing tennis, he wanted you to be out
horseback riding and maybe you’re going down to
the beach for a picnic, it wasn’t about coming in
and staying inside.>>Yeah, he wanted you
to see this.>>Yeah. [Laughs]
He owned the view.>>Literally. [Laughs]
>>Literally, yeah. His ranch at the height of
it was 250,000 acres, and the Hearst family still owns
the surrounding 82,000 acres.>>And even though Hearst
himself said that this is about the views,
there’s so much inside.>>That is true, it’s not
just about the views, it was also the perfect backdrop
for his vast art collection and he was able to showcase
a small percentage of what he had here at the ranch.
[Laughs]>>Yeah, the ranch.
[Laughs]>>Which is really the ranch,
and the hilltop estate really functions as a
Mediterranean Village, that was the idea.>>We just walked
off the Terrace, and front of the castle, to the
Neptune Terrace, and voilà!>>Overlooking the Neptune Pool
>>The Neptune Pool>>There is no water in it right
now, it used technology from the 1930’s and so
there is no liner in it. And so,
we drained it, and what you are seeing is
preservation in action.>>Look at this, Ty!
Wow.>>Casa Grande, the guest cottages are
named for their views, Casa Grande is named
for its size.>>Casa Grande.
[Laughs]>>The Big House,
and it is…>>This was started in 1919?>>1919, yeah, I think
William Randolph Hearst would have liked
to build something up here earlier than
that, but he finally had full control of
the family fortune when his mother’s
unfortunate death in 1919. She died during the
world-wide influenza epidemic, the Spanish Flu
they called it, and so he was 56
years old when he started to build his dream
house here in San Simeon.>>How long did it take to
build?>>Almost three decades and,
you know, it evolved, it started out as one thing and
it evolved into this, and it wasn’t a place that was
just designed on paper and then built in concrete, it
was designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt over,
over those 30 years.>>At the time, a ten million
dollar project?>>Yeah, about that, y’know,
three and a half million for the art and then another six
and a half million or so for the construction.
>>Well let’s go inside.>>Yeah we’ve got to
explore it. [Laughs]>>Yeah.>>Rob, welcome to the
assembly room.>>Oh my goodness,
assembly room for, where people would assemble.>>That’s right, and kind
of a living room for guests who were visiting.>>Look at these
Italian choir stalls.>>They’re from two
different churches, Walnut Choir
stalls from Italy, and used here just as
wainscoting, really…>>My goodness, this is
breathtaking. And look at the ceilings!>>Yeah, another Italian
walnut carved ceiling.>>The tapestries…>>Tapestries, I mean this is
a treasure trove; this would be a fine museum collection
for any institution. Here you have tapestries,
four from a set of ten, depicting the life and
exploits of a roman general named Scipio Africanus.
He defeated Hannibal in the second Punic Wars,
and the larger set belonged to the French Royal
collection at one point. After the French Revolution
a lot of items were sold, and it entered the open art
market at that point. Hearst bought them in the
early 1920’s, Hearst and other collectors were
acquiring these things. Art follows money, and so European art
followed American money, between World War I
and World War II.>>I see icons
from churches.>>Sure a lot of religious
art here, really reflects the time period from which
Hearst was collecting. This estate featured his
Mediterranean, Renaissance and Gothic art collection,
and most of the subject matter during that time
period was religious in nature and so that’s
what you’re seeing.>>And look at the mantle!>>Yeah, there’s kind of a
neat story behind this one. Hearst didn’t buy
this from an auction, he bought this actually
from the estate of another collector, a
New York Financier named Charles Barney who
committed suicide, kind of on the eve
of the Great Depression, and Hearst bought it. He wrote a letter to
Julia Morgan- he said, “I purchased the great
Barney mantle, I trust you will design a room
worthy to receive it.”>>That mantle is the first
thing that guests of William Randolph Hearst
would have seen when they came in
the front door.>>That’s right, and we’re a world-class
art museum today. His guests though didn’t
come to see the art, his guests were
marveling at each other. They wanted to see and they
wanted to be seen, and so if the who’s who
of the world is sitting right across from you or sharing
a seat with you on the couch, probably the tapestries
don’t look so grand; probably the things that
are tucked into the corner of the room kind of
fade into the background in the presence of Cary Grant
or somebody. One guest did comment about
sitting in front of this fireplace and watching a
whole trunk of an oak burn inside of it,
it’s massive.>>I see a doorknob.
>>Yeah.>>What’s behind here?
May I open it?>>Yeah, camouflaged into the
wainscoting is a door and the door leads to the
refectory, the dining hall.>>Oh.
>>[Laughs]>>Oh my gosh,
look at this! Flanked by these
beautiful flags and the backside of
the fireplace.>>Yeah, that’s the
other big fireplace.>>Wow, with more
beautiful ceilings. My gosh, I can’t stop
looking, sorry. [Laughs]>>We’ve taken sort of a step
back in history in a way, because the- we were in the
assembly room and the way it’s set up is very much in
a Renaissance style. And we’ve taken a step back
into the Gothic period here into the refectory, and a
refectory historically is where monks or something
would take their meals, y’know, in a
monastic setting and this setting
was far from that. It may have choir stalls
from the Gothic era, but when you get down to it,
really where the magic was happening was in between
this narrow table that created a very
intimate setting for the very interesting people
who were visiting here.>>And now we’re
headed into areas that you need
the keys.>>That’s right, I’ve got
my big loop of keys and so we’re going to head
down to the basement, and no visitor
gets to see this.>>What is it?>>It’s the vault.>>Alright, let’s go.
>>OK.>>Every house has storage, but this is
Hearst’s storage…>>Hearst’s storage, hand
carved alabaster globes, doors, carpets,
y’know, the stuff that’s not out on
the tour route.>>Wow, oh yeah, they
literally are vaults.>>Literally vaults, yes.>>There are vaults
everywhere, but this one you’re
going to open for us.>>Yeah, let’s go into one of
these vaults here.>>Oh my goodness. Wow, look at this,
these are doors?>>Doors that are where tours
go through now, and so it’s better to have them down
here to protect them. The best way to
store a door is the way they’re intended
to hang, so we hang them.>>Wow, and over here.>>Alabaster globes, hand
carved alabaster globes. They would have been on the
exterior lights but they weren’t designed to last a
hundred years in the type of weather that we have
here in the winters, and so we protect them
down here in the vault.>>From the sitting room,
one of two, the other one is broken,
in the 2003 earthquake.>>Yeah, we’re in
earthquake country. So we had an earthquake
in 2003, and it didn’t do any significant
structural damage; they really built
for permanence. They knew what they were
doing, Julia Morgan and William Randolph Hearst,
both of them having, y’know, survived the 1906 San
Francisco earthquake and lost property, so they were
cognizant of that when they were building up here and
they sure had it in mind. In the 2003 quake a couple
of pieces in the collection were broken but conservators
for the most part, except for that piece,
they were restored.>>So I grab the one piece,
I’m sorry about that. [Laughs]>>[Laughs]>>So let’s talk
about Julia Morgan.>>Sure.>>What an
amazing person.>>Yeah, she’s the architect. You know, people come up
here and marvel at the fact that one person could have
been responsible for the construction; she did all
the contracts for laborers, most of them from
the Bay Area. She did interior design, and
the architecture itself, and a lot of the-
collaborated on a lot of the treatment
for the grounds. So she was a
total architect, and people marvel
at the fact that one person could have built
this in one lifetime.>>Architect,
interior design, engineering that
withstood the earthquake.>>Yeah, absolutely.>>Another vault and
another key. [Laughs]>>I got the key.
>>I love that.>>Open it up for you.>>Thank you.
>>Sure.>>Oh my gosh, wow.>>Treasures of another
kind in a way.>>What are these?>>Well you have things that
were never incorporated, a lot of household items,
you know, as well…>>Absolutely beautiful,
these are I guess pieces that were left over
from the outside.>>Yeah, they would have
perhaps been incorporated somewhere into the estate
but never made it.>>Look at all of these
pieces, oh look, my I touch the tile?>>OK, you could
touch the tile.>>Ok, thank you.
[Laughs]>>[Laughs]>>Because the tile work
here, you see it, you know, out front, on the terrace
and you see it everywhere its spectacular.>>It’s a major part of the
design motif, you know, and it brings vivid color into
the gardens and into the exterior, it’s every, it’s
everywhere, it’s on the top of the towers, and the dome
of the towers, it’s on the walkways, it’s everywhere,
and most of the tiles were designed by Julia Morgan, so
she would come up with a sketch and a sense of the
color scheme, and then it would be produced usually by
California Faience Company in Berkeley, so a lot
of California craft, went into making this place.>>So we’re leaving
the basement and the vaults and
you’re taking us to the second floor
of Hearst Castle.>>Yeah, well you have to
see the Library, and you have to see some
guest accommodations along the way.>>And then we’re going to go
back behind closed doors on the top of the towers?>>Yeah, we’re going to sneak
up to the towers.>>I love that. ♪>>Right off the guest rooms,
The Library and you say this is one of your
favorite rooms.>>Well yeah, as a historian
it has to be, you know.>>Look at all of
these books.>>Well yeah and about 4500
books and it’s just what you want a library to be, the
classics and literature, it’s art, it’s architecture,
it’s history, but then if you look up
on top of the book cases you have 155 Greek
and Etruscan pots, another way of
telling stories.>>And just to setup exactly
where we are in the castle, we’re right above
the assembly room, the living room, and this is
the front of the castle.>>Front of the castle.>>Facing the ocean.
>>Right. ♪>>We’ve made it to
the third floor and it appears to be
even more Gothic.>>What you’re seeing is
something that few of his guests would have seen,
and that’s his private bed chambers,
The Gothic Suite, is what he called it.
>>The Gothic Suite.>>And across the way is
his Gothic Study so, it really reflects his
tastes. I think a lot of people walk in to this room
and they go oh, you know, I would have thought his
bedroom would be much larger, this is the bed chambers
of a much larger suite, and he spent most of his time
across the hall in his study, he was sort of I guess what we
call today, a workaholic, and according to those
who were close to him (he) maybe slept
four hours a night so this is just a room
to catch a little shut eye, it’s not the whole show.
[Laughs]>>The whole show
is above us.>>Right.>>Let’s go up there.
>>OK.>>To the top, The Celestial
Suites in the Towers.>>You’re going to enjoy it,
the view from up here.>>Wow, beautiful.>>Welcome to The
Celestial Suite.>>Wow.>>It’s normally not
on tour, so…>>This is spectacular.>>Really behind
the scenes now, we’re up in the base
of The Bell Tower.>>My goodness, The
Celestial Suite, and I see why you call it this,
there’s angels everywhere.>>And then as the sun gets
lower in the sky to the west as it sets, it just floods this light with
this wonderful gold tone. Hedda Hopper said it
was like sleeping inside of a
gold jewel box.>>That’s exactly what
it looks like and feels like in here.>>And to think it was an
afterthought, you know, this didn’t exist at
one time, Casa Grande was just two levels, they
decided to add a third and in the process of doing
that they felt like they had to heighten the level
of the Bell Towers and so they took what was unusable
open deck space and made it into a pretty
spectacular bedroom.>>So, we’re in
the Bell Tower.>>We’re in the base of the
Bell Towers. Above us are the bells, and in between us and
the bells a very large tank of water, its part of the
gravity-flow water system.>>Oh wow.
>>[Laughs]>>This is the
Celestial Sitting Room>>It connects the two Celestial Suites
in either tower.>>That’s where
we’re going out.>>Well we’re going to
go out on the deck, you afraid of the heights?>>Not this one, no.
>>OK. [Laughs]>>Oh, you’ve got
to be kidding me, wow, that is spectacular.>>It’s all there, that view.>>California keeps taking
my breath away.>>Well, and you’re looking
out on California as it is but you’re also looking out
on California as it was, when this was part of
Mission San Miguel, and it was mission cattle that
they were running out here, so this is a view out onto
the 1700’s in California, and a lot of that reason is
because of the continuity of the land ownership, the fact
that George Hearst came here in 1867, the fact that
William Randolph Hearst continued to acquire
property in this area, and it’s remained in the
Hearst family ever since then and has not been developed.>>You nailed it, I mean you
really are looking back in time, do you think that
William Randolph Hearst had any clue at what a
destination location this would be for so
many people…>>I think he probably had an
inkling and I think he did want this to end up in
the public realm someday, he would make comments
in his later years that this will become a museum
someday, this will belong to the public in some
way, and I think he maybe had different ideas
about what that would be, I do think he might be a
little surprised at the fact that we get three quarters
of a million people who come here every year and
really have since 1958, and it’s where California meets
the world in a lot of ways.>>The reason I scour this
state and do this show is to explore California and show
the beauty that we have here, and how it can make you
feel, on a personal note, when you stand
here and look out, what does it make you feel?>>Well for me, you know,
because I come from a family where I don’t… I never got a
chance to travel through Europe, maybe this is the
closest I’ve seen to it, you know, and so I’m able to
see the treasures of the world really in my own backyard,
and I get to look back onto the past as well and there’s
not too many places that are like that, that have that
unique combination of things, you know, a world-class
European art collection, an unspoiled landscape,
and it’s a really rich story to tell and share
with people and so yeah it makes coming to work every
day pretty easy.>>Yeah because look
what you see, the beauty of the
California coast…>>It’s all here.
>>Ty, thank you.>>My pleasure, thanks for
visiting Hearst Castle.>>What a treat, thank you so
much for this amazing tour.>>My pleasure.
Yeah, absolutely. ♪>>The Hearst Family
legacy still lives on here along the Central California
Coast, surrounding the Hearst Castle, is
Hearst Ranch, where the great-grandson of William
Randolph Hearst, Steve Hearst – flew
in from San Francisco to take us on a private tour
of his families treasure, this sprawling grass
fed cattle ranch, home to the Hearst history. ♪♪>>Hi.
>>How you doing?>>How are you Steve?
>>Good.>>I’m Rob Stewart.
>>Hey Rob,
how’re you doing?>>Nice to see you.
to meet you.>>Thank you so much
for doing this.
>>Not a problem.>>You’re going to
give us sort of a behind the scenes tour.>>Well it’s,
it’s the scene.>>(Laughs)
But this area is, this is all closed
to the public.>>Yes, you’re in the middle
of a 128 square miles. The only thing that is
open to the public is the castle which
is a 128 acres.>>It’s absolutely
beautiful out here today, and I know this goes so
deep with you, you know, not just here for you today, but back in your family
history, we’re going to talk about all of that
today, I’m so excited.>>Good, as am I. ♪♪>>There is so much land
here, 82,000 acres?>>Yes.>>And how much of
it is actually used for cattle grazing?>>Well, you can graze
about half of the acreage.>>Look at this house;
this is the Senator’s house.>>Yes it is.>>For your great-great
grandfather.>>Correct.>>Built in the 1870s?>>1878. You know this was,
this was vacation, this was summer vacation,
so we would take this house and the bunk house over there, the kids normally got
stuck over at the bunk house because it’s not
quite as luxurious, there’s a few of us that know
the property well enough to where we can take
and be gone for, you know, the whole day and
not even touch the borders. a lot of the family comes
here and spends their time with kids and
Frisbees in the yard.>>Well isn’t that what
life is really all about?>>I think so, I think so.>>Does all of this
rest on your shoulders?>>I don’t, I don’t think
it rest on my shoulders, I guess it, it, you know,
technically does, but it’s, I don’t, I don’t
look at it as a weight, I look at it as a privilege.>>I don’t have to tell
you how blessed you are.>>Oh, are you kidding, I’ve got the best
job in the world.>>So who all besides
your family members have stayed here
in this house?>>How about Lady Gaga,
Lady Gaga just did a film.>>Really?>>Yes, she was the
latest celebrity that stayed here I think>>That’s cool.>>She stayed here
at this house when she filmed the
video up at the castle.>>Well I think
that about says, I mean if Lady Gaga’s
been here.>>Well and Liz, Liz Taylor.>>Yeah, Elizabeth Taylor.>>Years, years ago. ♪♪>>And where are we
winding up to now?>>Well, we’re, we’re
headed up on the- on the same road
that buses use to take tourists
up to the castle, which is actually a
non-exclusive easement which is our road
and they maintain it.>>OK.>>And then we’re
going to come down the, what they call the
extension orchard and this is where W.R. had a lot of
the free grazing zoo animals, y’know, living out in the-
in the, in the open, kept in by very
high deer fences, and he also had a bunch of fruit and nut trees
that he desired but the climate and the
soil would not support them. So over the years they, you
know, they kind of faded off.>>And you talked
about the zoo animals, many of those animals now have integrated into
the wild here?>>They have. We’ve got
about a hundred and ten or a hundred and
fifteen zebras.>>So we’re climbing
and climbing, how high up do we go?>>The castle is
at about 1600 feet, and we’re going to stop
just shy of that, and- and come down this ridge which will give you some
great views of, I don’t know, maybe fifteen or
so thousand acres and lots of acres of ocean.>>I love it. You know, I know you
see this all the time, but every corner we come
around takes my breath away, do you ever
get tired of this?>>No, but as many
guests as I’ve ever seen walk into that building
while they’re astounded by the architecture and the
fixtures and the furniture and the antiquities, they
walk right through the room, right to a window,
and look at the view and say you’ve got
to be kidding me.>>Really.>>Because in-
out of every window, the view was specifically
planned, you know, W.R. loved the ranch and
he said to his mother I’d rather spend a month here
than anywhere in the world and that’s one of
the famous quotes.>>Steve some of these views are the prettiest
I’ve seen around.>>Well in that case
let me expand it.>>All of this
is ranch land.>>This is a- well
it’s a- it’s a big view, it’s actually a-
a small part of the, of the entire property.>>And I think it’s
so important to tell your story of
conservation, because as- as poignant and special
as this land is to you, you gave a lot of it away.>>Well, we gave a lot of it
away, and we also gave away rights that existed
with the property.>>In 2005, Steve Hearst
negotiated what became the largest California
conservation easement project of its time,
transferring ownership of some of the
land to the state, yet ensuring that the
land will always remain in the Hearst Family
for agriculture. The agreement limits
development of these historic hills,
and beautiful beaches.>>We enlisted The
American Land Conservancy, The California Range
Land Trust was always the organization we
saw that was gonna oversee the entire
easement in perpetuity, so we had to fund the
endowment to have them come and review our practices
twice a year for ever.>>So when you think about
all of your family members and ancestors that have
gone before you here, I want to take it back to-
to the very beginning, what would Senator Hearst think about what
you’re doing today.>>I think that George
and Phoebe and W.R. would come here today
and see it very much as they saw it when
they were here. Very little has changed. I think they would very much
approve of- of what we’re doing here today and I think
they’d be proud of it.>>So now let’s go forward.>>OK.>>When they’re talking
about you this way way down the road.>>There was a sense that I
had during the conservation negotiations of a photo
of me hanging somewhere, “So that’s the guy
that sold the ranch.” And someone said “no that’s
the guy that saved the ranch.”>>And standing in front of
the castle and the cattle, I think the guy
that saved the farm is a pretty good way
to end it today.>>Well, I think that’s
a good way, thank you.>>Thank you.
>>You bet.>>What an honor.
>>Oh, pleasure.  >>What a special trip, that’s going to do it
for this edition of Rob On The Road Hearst
Castle and Ranch, we’re so glad you joined us, you can check out all of our
shows at and send us your ideas,
we’ll see you next time, right here,
on Rob On The Road. ♪♪>>To order a DVD copy
of this program call 888-814-3923
or visit  

20 thoughts on “Rob on the Road: Hearst Castle and Ranch – KVIE

  1. Hi Rob, I'm surprised your personal guide didn't tell you the real reason (being polite i suppose!) the guests arrived on the South side of the main terrace! It wasn't because of the view! The grand staircase on the north side of the main terrace where the guests were supposed to arrive and walk up to the main entrance, was never completed! One can see where it was started but since many parts of the estate were never finished at Hearst's death, the state has left them that way in honor of Hearst. After all, it was his dream! Thanks to Hearst, we have treasurers from all over the world right here in California! Those of us who don't have the money or good health to travel, can still see what is out there in the world right here!!! Thanks to "The Chief" ….

  2. i’m sure some weird shit happened in the ‘30 on that castle, but there wasnt alt media on those days to report or speculate about it

  3. Thanks to this man and his empire, we have this bit of California history, as far as geography, movie stars, art, life and so very much more! The California history, the European art!…what a marriage made in heaven!

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