Hearst Castle, California – A Quilting Connection

Casa Grande

Who knew I would be talking quilting during a visit to Hearst Castle!  This opulent mansion, high in the hills overlooking the Central California Coast, was built by William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), an American newspaper magnate.  He was one of the wealthiest men of his time, and actress Marion Davies (1897-1961) was his long-time partner.  They invited many of the rich and famous to extravagant parties at their castle during the golden days of Hollywood.

The architecture, gardens, and vistas at Hearst Castle are stunning.  One of the attractions is the Indoor Roman Pool.  As I was admiring the beautiful tiles there, and comparing their designs to quilt blocks, a guide nearby overheard me.  He told me that Marion Davies was a quilter, and that she had a sewing room near her bedroom in the castle.  I learned later that she designed her own quilts and in 1941 had won awards for them at a Los Angeles County Fair, where, of course, they received much attention.

This personal story about Marion Davies revealed another side to a woman surrounded by money and glamour, and gave me an interesting and unexpected memory about Hearst Castle.