NittWitt Ridge – A real Junk-House

NittWitt Ridge is buildt on some two acres in Cambria.

The Poor Mans Mansion

The Poor Mans Mansion

The House is the work of a man named Art Beal. He bought this hillside lot in 1928, and spent most of the next 50 years carving out the terraces with only a pick and shovel, and creating his own “Hearst Castle on a hill.”

This is a video of Art Beale:

Known to the locals as Captain Nitt Witt, Beal was garbage collector for the town of Cambria in the 40s and 50s, and made good use of what he collected, together with what he could find elsewhere, in the woods, on the beaches or on his own property.

There are even som parts that are said to come from Hearst Castle itself, as he reportedly worked there for a while.

He used empty beer cans, carparts, abalone shells, tiles, oildrums, anything he could find went into the construction.

Art Beale died in 1992 at the age of 96 and his ashes were spread around his favorite redwood on Nitt Witt Ridge.

Michael, the Landlord, will give you a guided tour

Michael, the new Landlord, will give you a guided tour

The house is today open for the public and the owner, Michael, will give you a tour of the premises.

The places has its lovers and haters in the local community, about equal in numbers. He, Art Beale that is, used to sit on the roof of his house, dressed only in a blue bathrobe or not dressed at all and his loud singing didn’t help to make him everyones favourite either.

Nitt Witt Ridge has now been pronounced a “California Historical Landmark”. This is meant to preserve it for the future, but it also very much limits Michaels ability to repair and restore it.

As a Historical Landmark he is not allowed to put it into commercial use, to advertise it or in any way make money from it.

This makes it something like a Catch 22; The Landmark status protects it for the future but denies the money needed to protect it.

It even prohibits putting up a sign to show passers-by the direction. (it is located just a few minutes from the Highway) so the best thing to do is to stop at the gas station and ask for direction. Or you can use this map; In my view, the NitWit Ridge is really worth a visit, and Michael really deserves credit (and a donation) for taking care of it!


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