A Poor Man’s Castle in Cambria

Everyone knows about Hearst Castle at San Simeon, California but few realize that there is another, just as extraordinary,  ‘castle’ down the road in Cambria.

This castle, known as Nitt Witt Ridge, was built by Arthur Harold Beal, who, having bought two and a half acres of hillside land in 1928, set about carving out terraces with a pick and shovel and creating a ‘castle’ made from junk.

No one really knows what spurred Albert in his building frenzy, although it’s thought that there was a woman (and a broken heart) involved.

Being the town’s garbage collector during the 1940’s and 1950’s provided Albert (also known as Captain Nit Witt or Der Tinkerpaw) with plenty of building material.

Wandering around the house, it’s pretty clear he had some favorite building supplies – beer cans, toilets, abalone shells, car parts, and even, apparently, some broken tiles thrown away by the Hearst building crew.

Albert is long gone but his building legacy, considered a California State Historical Landmark, will live on.

Depending on your point of view, Nitt Witt Ridge is either a brilliant example of folk art or a jumbled collection of junk.

Or was he just ‘green’ before his time…

Tours of Nitt Witt Ridge are available by contacting the owners (Michael and Stacey O’Malley) on 805-927-2690.

For more on what to do in Cambria, check out What a Trip’s Insider Tips to Cambria.

(Disclosure: the writer was hosted by san luis obispo county visitors & conference bureau on her visit to Cambria, staying at the FogCatcher Inn)


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