One man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure, as proven by Nitt Witt Ridge. This California Registered Historical Landmark was built completely by alternative artist Arthur “Art” Harold Beal all by himself, over 50 years of creative work.
He bought the hillside in Cambria in 1928 and for the next 50 years created his own “poor man’s castle” out of various objects he found from being a garbageman and things he took during his brief work at Hearst Castle.
Beer cans, abalone shells, car parts, and toilet seat covers are just some of the materials featured for the foundational work and decor of his palace. It’s a really special place for which he put his heart and soul into making and which has a rich history behind it.
When you arrive to the property do not be alarmed to see a sign that reads “human waste at “#,” this just means the time that the next tour will take place, usually every hour on the hour. A $10 cash donation is asked per person for a tour and it’s well worth it with all of the amazing information you receive from the tour guide Mike, who is so obviously passionate about spreading the history of this man’s legacy. He’s an expert on the history of the house and about Art’s life.
Mike greets you at the door and shows you around each room of the house one by one from the kitchen to his “extra room” where Art frequented lady guests to his own bedroom which is hauntingly well put together.
He even shows a video (on a TV hooked up to a car battery, how resourceful) of Art from back when he was building the house.
Art died at the age of 96 in 1992, and in 1999 Michael and Stacey O’Malley became the owners of the property. It is amazing how much time, effort, and care Art put into building this house up from the ground and the O’Malleys’ passion for keeping the legacy of the landmark alive is incredible and apparent in the enthusiasm Mike shows in his tours of the house. Mike’s witty sense of humor made the tour extra enjoyable.
Art’s ashes are scattered around the redwood up outside by the court yard area and it definitely feels like you can sense his presence watching over you when you’re walking through the house, so just be respectful of what used to be his prided living space.
This was by far the most unique Central Coast experience I have gotten to enjoy so far and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an activity off the beaten path on the Central Coast!
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