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Premier-Class Pools: The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle

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The ‘Castle’ in Hearst Castle is no joke. Constructed in San Simeon, California, for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947, the national historic landmark covers for than 90,000 square feet, serving as the centerpiece for Hearst’s 250,000 acre estate.

Of course, what we’re interested in is what is perhaps the most recognizable feature of Hearst Castle, the Neptune Pool.

Premier-Class Pools: The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle

Photo credit: Wikiuser Taty2007 (Creative Commons)

The Premier-Class Pools series visits The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle.

Perhaps you’ve worked with difficult customers, but it’s safe to say that none of them has held a candle to William Randolph Hearst. Construction began on the Neptune Pool in 1924, but wasn’t completed until 1936, as it was torn down and rebuilt three times due to Hearst’s legendarily fickle tastes.

The finished pool measures 104 feet by 58 feet, with an alcove that widens the pool to 95 feet. Its depth ranges from 3 ½ to 10 feet deep, and has a capacity of 345,000 gallons. It features an ancient Greco-Roman temple that was imported from Europe and rebuilt onsite, four Italian bas-reliefs that date to the 1600s, and an oil burning heating system (that is no longer functional). The pool is embellished with Vermont marble, and the colonnades surrounding it are carved from the same.

Unfortunately, keeping it filled has become a nearly impossible task, due to recent water shortages in California. Historically the pool was kept filled by natural springs in the area, but the local State Parks service has redirected that water for irrigation of the surrounding landscape. However, even if the pool is allowed to run completely dry, its grandeur will not be diminished in the least.

If it gives you any idea just how grand the scale of Hearst Castle is, this will not be the last time it appears in this blog series. Our next Premier-Class Pools entry will visit the indoor counterpart to the Neptune Pool: Hearst’s Roman Pool.

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