Woman Wednesday: Julia Morgan Jan. 20th 1872-Feb. 2, 1957 became an architect and self-made businesswoman at a time that predated the American woman’s right to vote. She was a true visionary and was a dedicated and patient. Her most famous client? William Randolph Hearst who in 1919 commissioned her to start work on what became his La Cuesta Encantada, better known as Hearst Castle. On a recent visit to the hilltop masterpiece overlooking the central coast of California, I had the pleasure of seeing up close the enormity of her collaboration with Hearst and how she was able to harmoniously synthesize Moorish, Mission and Colonial Revival styles into a cohesive whole. She was known to accommodate Hearst’s frequent changes of mind and found ingenious ways to incorporate his collection of antiques and art into the estate. That today, the Hearst Castle has withstood earthquakes and millions of visitors over the years is a testament to her skill. Although the first woman to be admitted to Paris’s premiere architecture school, the only woman in her civil engineering class and the first woman in California to receive a license in architecture, her loyalty and unassuming demeanor let her work, not her “firsts” speak for her. Hearst Castle remained unfinished after William Randolph’s death but the power of his collaboration with Julia Morgan is an enchanting legacy.  


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