Unlike in Europe royal political leaders (gangsters posing as leadership) did not build the palaces and ‘castles’ in most of the United States. Instead industrial leaders and merchants (robber barons) built them as giant pieces of conspicuous consumption. Among the most extravagant is La Cuesta Encantada, better known as the Hearst Castle.

It overlooks San Simeon bay about halfway between Monterey and Santa Barbara in California. Built by William Randolph Hearst as a private estate today it is a State Historic Monument, meaning the grounds can be toured by the public, much like many of the palaces of Europe. We can see the thousands of pieces of art and antiques that Hearst collected in this Mediterranean Revival style mansion. Quite a place to visit.

It was the basis for the Xanadu of Citizen Kane in the movie of the same name.