Julia Morgan may have been small in stature (barely five feet tall), but she left large imprints on the field of architecture. Her achievements are impressive and many. And, in her own quiet way, she also opened doors to opportunities for women.

Born in San Francisco, Julia Morgan grew up in Oakland, the second of five children. Morgan was a woman of firsts: one of the first women to graduate with a degree in civil engineering from the University of California; the first woman to earn a certificat d’architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris; and the first woman architect to be licensed in California.

From 1904 to 1947, Julia Morgan headed her own firm in San Francisco, designing more than 700 structures. Along with the Berkeley Women’s City Club – familiarly known as the “Little Castle” – many are known worldwide.

A few of Morgan’s extant work includes:

Hearst Castle at San Simeon, California

Hearst Gymnasium for Women at the University of California
(in collaboration with her mentor Bernard Maybeck)

Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California

The Campanile belltower, Alumni Hall (now part of the Student Union), Ming Quong School for Chinese Girls (now Julia Morgan School for Girls), and Kapiolani Cottage at Mills College, in Oakland, California

Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco; rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake

Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California
Julia Morgan Walking Guide

Wyntoon, a Hearst family retreat on the McCloud River, California
(built after the first Wyntoon burned)

YWCAs throughout California as well as in Honolulu and Salt Lake City


To learn more about Julia Morgan and related topics, please see Julia Morgan Resources.