Saturday, December 7, 2013

12/7 Scotty's Castle, Death Valley

Drove to Scotty's Castle today.  It was 25 last night, per my overnight thermometer that reads highs and lows.  Saw this as I was driving out of the campground at Furnace Creek.  Can you see the thin layer of ice on the part close to the road?

It was a 60 miles drive, one way, but it was interesting to see all the different areas of Death Valley.  Almost no traffic at all, which was nice. 

I love these roads that just go on forever!

Scotty's Castle is down a side canyon.
Pretty nice house!  The castle was really not built by the guy they call Scotty, who was a character who had quit Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to become a hermit and scammer.  A millionaire (guy named Johnson) had invested over $100,000 in his fake goldmine, and came out to Death Valley to see his investment.  Turned out he loved the area and forgave Scotty.  He bought land and built this huge home here.  There was a spring here that provided 190 gallons of water a minute, plenty for a big home and visitors. 

As you can see, it was never named Scotty's Castle.  The real name was Death Valley Ranch.

Johnson liked Scotty so much he gave him his own bedroom in the main home, although it was said Scotty never really stayed here.  He would have dinner with the Johnsons and then ride his mule four miles down the canyon to a small home Johnson had built for him, which he preferred to the more fancy home.

Scotty had known P. T. Barnum, so this wall of his bedroom contains a signed photo of Barnum, and Scotty's collection of cowboy hats. 

This is one of the sitting rooms in the castle.

This is not only a player piano, but a recording piano.  You played something, and it recorded it on a paper roll so it could be played back.

I thought this leather drapes were interesting.

I like her dinnerware, also!

And the freezer in the kitchen that was capable of making ice cream.  The ranch was entirely self-contained, with a water-operated generator and big banks of batteries.  It also had solar hot water.

And a very nice stove with beautiful tile surround.

Even the kitchen sink was beautifully tiled!

This is Mrs. Johnson's daybed, where she did a lot of writing.  The one panel pulled down to make a writing desk.

After his wife died in a car accident where he had been driving, Mr. Johnson seldom used the ranch any more.  All of her clothing and shoes were left as they were when she died.  Wish some of it had been on display.
The castle had been left to a religious group after both of the Johnson's were gone, and in the 50s they sold it to the National Park Service, and donated all the furniture and items in the home to the park service. 

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