A $5.4 million investment has returned one of the most iconic features of William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon estate to pristine condition.
The palatial Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle — swam in by Hollywood legends including Cary Grant, Clarke Gable, and Carole Lombard — is back after four years sitting empty, according to the New York Times.
California State Parks, which now operates the estate as Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, celebrated in the most appropriate way: with a swim. Revelers, after coughing up more than $1,000 each for the opportunity, got to dive into the 345,000-gallon pool last weekend to celebrate, according to the New York Times.
The restoration included repairing cracks that once caused the pool to leak 5,000 gallons of water a day and replacing 20,000 marble tiles on the pool’s floor. The new tiles were sourced from the same Vermont quarry that supplied the marble for the original floor.
The pool’s construction took 28 years to complete and it is the third version of the water feature that originally started as a reflecting pool. Its architect was Julia Morgan, the first licensed female architect in the state who designed all of Hearst’s San Simeon estate, including the 115-room main house.
The pool deck includes numerous marble statues, marble colonnades and the façade of an authentic Ancient Roman temple that Hearst bought in Italy and installed on the site.
With the water refilled, park superintendent Dan Falt said “the castle feels whole again.” [NYT] – Dennis Lynch