The History of Hearst Ranch Winery's Sebastian's General Store
Sebastian's General Store has always carried on through the generations. Originally built in 1852 by Captain Joseph Clark at the peak of the whaling industry, the general store provided goods and services to whalers, fishermen, miners and neighboring ranches. The store was originally located on San Simeon Point, and eventually moved by George Hearst (William Randolph’s father) to its present-day location where it was operated by the Thorndyke family until 1914 when it was purchased by the Sebastian Brothers. Their General Store in San Simeon Bay was the significant shipping point for barrels of whale oil, cheese, butter and other commodities from the Central Coast. At its height Old San Simeon Village flourished with two hotels, saloons, blacksmith, livery stable, butcher, schools, a depot for a stage travel to Cambria and a telegraph line to San Luis Obispo. In 1878, the Bay View Hotel was built; a first-class hotel with famous guests Thomas A. Edison, Winston Churchill and Calvin Coolidge, to name a few. By 1910, most of the village had faded away, but Sebastian's General Store survived. Sebastian's was the first post office in San Simeon until 1905 when the post office was moved to the pier. The post office was moved back in 1945, where it remains today inside Hearst Ranch Winery’s Sebastian’s General Store.
The simplicity of life in Old San Simeon Village is far different from the magnificent opulence of Hearst Castle. Long before William Randolph Hearst began off-loading building materials, furniture and his world-famous art collection at the San Simeon Pier, a native Indian population resided on the territory of San Simeon. Later the area was part of a Mexican land grant called the Piedra Blanca Rancho. A small community of Chinese seaweed harvesters lived on the bay in the 1860s. Portuguese whalers from the Azores also called the bay home when they also began operating a whaling station at San Simeon Point during this time. When the shore-whaling industry came to an end, Japanese settlers started a business drying abalone. When William's father, George Hearst, purchased the Piedra Blanca Rancho the 12 acres of San Simeon Point were excluded, but they were eventually purchased in 1894 by George's widow, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. Today little evidence remains of the people from so many cultures who lived and worked on the land of the Point and waters off the Bay.
And Today... The Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room at Sebastian's
Today Hearst Ranch Winery's Sebastian's General Store is home to Hearst Ranch Winery's Tasting Room, Sebastian's Cafe and the historic San Simeon Post Office. Located off the famed coastal Highway 1, Hearst Ranch Winery’s Sebastian’s General Store is a favorite stopping place for locals and tourists alike. From the deck you can hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash and catch peek-a-boo views of Hearst Castle atop the hill. We invite you to savor the Historic remnants of the past while enjoying exquisite wine and the breathtaking views.