The Cambrian

Look into life at Hearst Castle part of SLO libraries’ centennial celebration

Hearst Castle Curator answers your question: “Are there secret passages in the Castle?”

Behind the scenes the Hearst Castle staff keep a watchful eye on dust and humidity. Guides are often asked if there are secret passages in the Castle, an expert answers the question.
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Behind the scenes the Hearst Castle staff keep a watchful eye on dust and humidity. Guides are often asked if there are secret passages in the Castle, an expert answers the question.

As Hearst Castle prepares to celebrate in 2020 the centennial of when construction began at the former estate of media magnate William Randolph Hearst, San Luis Obispo County Libraries are celebrating their own 100-year anniversary in 2019.

This summer, the State Parks Museum and the libraries are combining forces to honor both events. State Parks has donated time and historical expertise to the libraries to provide patrons a more intimate view into life at the castle in their back yard.

It is believed that Hearst and his chief architect Julia Morgan by late 1919 already were deep into the planning for what became a multi-decade project to create the expansive San Simeon estate, according to Dan Falat, superintendent of the parks district that includes Hearst Castle.

Details about the Castle’s 2020 celebrations haven’t been revealed yet. Meanwhile, for this summer’s Castle-library link, Museum Director Mary Levkoff and Guide Supervisor Aja Milne developed a schedule of programs to be held free of charge at county library branches, bringing the Hearst Castle experience to people in their own communities.

Several branches will host a Living History 1930s fashion show, an interpretive experience of Hearst Castle with period pieces and reproductions on hand to try styles from this bygone era.

Also scheduled are presentations on: W.R. Hearst and the Hollywood Connection; Hearst’s planes, trains, and automobiles; Julia Morgan; Marion Davies, actress and longtime Hearst companion and actress; and more.

Cambria library this month will exhibit architectural facsimiles of Julia Morgan and tile work from the castle, while Morro Bay will have a Hearst tile exhibit installed.

Los Osos library will showcase a model of the castle, and State Parks docents will discuss the castle’s construction.

Two free tickets for a Hearst Castle Grand Rooms Tour will be given to the winner of the “Short & Sweet Adult Summer Reading Program.”

Sign up for the program at any county library branch. For dates, times and location of events, go to www.slolibrary.org.

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