The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux has traveled a long way through distance and time.. Moving Day The monastery was completed in Sacramenia, in the Provice of Segovia, Spain, in 1141. Cistercian monks occupied the monastery for nearly 700 years. In 1925, media mogul William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters and the monastery's outbuildings, then a granary and stable. The structures were dismantled stone by stone, packed in about 11,000 wooden crates, and shipped to the United States. Soon after the shipment, Hearst's financial problems forced most of his collection to be sold at auction. The stones remained in a New York warehouse for 26 years until, in 1952, they were purchased for use as a tourist attraction.
Pieces of a Puzzle It took 19 months and almost $1.5 million to put the monastery back together. Some unmatched stones remain in the back lot, while others were used in the construction of the present church's parish hall. The monastery, said to be the oldest building in North America, is now run by the parish of St. Bernard Clairvaux.