New tour commemorates the beginning of construction of the historic monument

California State Parks is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the construction of Hearst Castle in 1920, with a new tour focused on its architect Julia Morgan. Now officially called Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, the new hilltop tour offers an in-depth look at photographic displays of Morgan’s architectural drawings, family photos and personal items.

“We’re excited to bring this new tour to the public as part of our centennial celebration,” said Dan Falat, San Luis Obispo Coast District Superintendent. “You’ll be able to learn about the talented woman behind this iconic mansion that continues to reveal its history 100 years later.”

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Hearst Castle was the dream of one individual, William Randolph Hearst, but he could not have completed it without the help of his architect, Julia Morgan. The two collaborated on the hilltop for almost 28 years. From the initial concept, first mentioned in 1919, of a “little something’ on the hilltop to the estate we have today. Hearst and Morgan worked closely on not just the construction, but incorporating antique elements into the design both inside and out.

California native Julia Morgan was the first licensed woman architect in the state of California. She was the first woman to graduate from the architecture program at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France in 1898. She did not go quietly from there. Hearst Castle was not her only project. In fact, she built more than 700 projects throughout her career, and the Castle is number 503. Her work ranges from private bungalows to large YWCA complexes like Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA.

In 2014, she was recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and was posthumously awarded the AIA Gold Medal. In the nomination, it was stated that Julia Morgan was “one of America’s most important architects of the 20th century” as well as being “the most prolific sole practitioner architect in American history, completing over 720 commissions nearly 200 more than her nearest competitor, Frank Lloyd Wright.”

 The Julia Morgan tour is approximately two hours in length and allows visitors the opportunity to see locations at the Castle never before shown on public tours. Tickets for this new tour offering are $100 per person and can be reserved through or by calling (800) 444-4445.

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This new tour is the first offering in a year’s worth of activities focused on the centennial of the castle and the collaboration between W.R. Hearst and Julia Morgan.