I first learned of this place years ago via watching a very interesting television video documentary while living in the Carolina's. I actually had plans to visit one day to get a bird's eye view of this attraction as a direct result of the video piece. Fast forward years later and as faith would have it; this site was placed on the itinerary for a Tour Guide Certification Course that I was taking at Miami-Dade Community College in late 2015. We were fortunate to have a site expert (Ms. Sonya M. Washington) personally guide us around the property and give us a detailed tour of the buildings and grounds.
Although relatively new to South Florida, this attraction dates back to 1141 A.D. (after death) when it was completed and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and named "The Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels." The name was officially changed to St. Bernard de Clairvaux [clear valley] (1090-1153) on Friday January 18, 1174, after the now famous monk was canonized by Pope Alexander III (c. 1100 - 1181). Its purpose was to house the monks that served the attached church which dates back to 1133 -- in Sacramenia Spain -- and is still there today. They were called Cistercian (religious order of monks and nuns) who occupied the monastery for nearly 700 years. The Cloisters (monastery) were seized, sold, and converted into a granary and stable after a social revolution in the 1830's.
The Cloister's and out buildings was then purchased over a Century later by wealthy publisher William Randolph Hearst (1863 - 1951) in 1925 for an undisclosed amount. He was mocked in the now iconic movie Citizen Kane (1941) by famed Director Orson Welles (1915 - 1985), and is the grandfather of the reportedly notorious bank-robber and heiress Patty Hearst who recently (2015) appeared at a Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. The structures were then taken apart piece-by-piece and packed away in some 11,000 wooden crates, and shipped to the United States. Upon arrival they were quarantined by order of the United States Department of Agriculture due to an outbreak of the hoof and mouth (also known as hand-foot-and-mouth) disease in Segovia Spain (St. Bernard original location), which causes sores to develop about those body parts as well as sometimes the buttocks and legs. The crates were broken open and the hay burned to prevent the spread of the disease; unfortunately, the stones were not properly placed back into their proper numbered boxes.
Mr. Hearst was forced to sell the collection at an auction during the Great Depression Era (1929 - 1939) and in 1952 -- one year after his death -- it was purchased by Cincinnati, Ohio, businessmen Mr. William Edgemon and Mr. Raymond Moss to be used as a tourist attraction. They had been boxed in storage in New York City for 26 years and were transported via ship to Port Everglades at a cost of $60,000 (USD). The Cloisters were unscrambled and put back together again at its current location on North Miami Beach after 19 months and nearly $1.5 Million (USD).