No. 47 Hearst Family
Media magnate William Randolph Hearst (1863–1951) made history with his publishing empire, but it was his father, George Hearst (1820–1891), who built the family fortune. And it all began with land. (See Henry Chappell’s profile of Hearst Ranch in the Summer 2014 issue of The Land Report.) The elder Hearst was a Missouri native who ventured to California as a ’49er. A decade later, he and his partners hit pay dirt with the Comstock Lode, the biggest silver rush in American history. Hearst parlayed this success into sundry other mining interests, including South Dakota’s Homestake Mine and Montana’s Anaconda Copper Mine. He also bought 48,000 acres of ranchland near the tiny town of San Simeon in Central California. He eventually expanded that initial purchase to 270,000 acres. Today, the family’s rural landholdings in California include the 80,000-acre Piedra Blanca Rancho at San Simeon, the 73,000-acre Jack Ranch near Cholame, and 61,000 acres of timberland in Northern California.