Another fascinating piece of the Hearst Castle story is George Hearst. He is actually a mining engineer with knowledge of Geology. Most folks that came out for the California Gold Rush did not have a clew and as a result most failed at finding gold. It was much more a matter of luck then knowledge. Thus George was in a much better position to strike it rich. However, on his trip to California he contracted cholera and ended up flat on his back. His doctor prescribed the best medicine for such a malady was the large consumption of alcohol. Needless to say this delayed his arrival. When he arrived the best places for placer mining had been taken. He switched over to hard rock quartz mining, but still just made a modest living. It was his geologic knowledge and sharp eye that lead him to actually strike it rich not in California’s gold but Nevada’s silver. Rather than drink and gamble this wealth away, as many did, he invested in the other way to strike it rich in California - buying land! He bought Rancho Piedra Blanca - on the California coast (48,806 aches), spending pennies per acre! This was the ranch the Will and Phoebe fell in love with.
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