Monday, November 20, 2006

Scotty's Castle Helped Make Death Valley Blossom

Born Walter Scott in 1872, Death Valley Scotty as he became known, first visited Death Valley as a young man while working out of a Nevada ranch. In 1890 a talent scout hired him to work as a cowboy in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. After traveling with the show for twelve years, Scott returned to Death Valley to try his hand at Gold prospecting. He persuaded several wealthy businessmen to part with their money in exchange for a split in the profits, if they would fund the initial ore extraction. Despite having little luck with his mining operation, Scott was often seen in the finest Saloons and Hotels in the area, spending money freely. Scott's most consistent investor was wealthy insurance magnate Albert Johnson. Mr. Johnson gave Scott thousands of dollars to fund operations, but the gold never materialized due to what Scott described as "a number of calamities". Eventually Mr. Johnson decided to visit the mine for himself, Scott thought that a grueling horseback ride through Death Valley would be more than the sickly Mr. Johnson could handle, he was wrong, the Valleys warm dry air soon improved Mr. Johnson's health and in fact Johnson fell in love with the area and stayed for nearly a month. Despite the fact that Mr. Johnson never got to see Scott's mine, they struck-up a friendship that would last a life time. Mr. Johnson would return with his wife to winter in Death Valley, for the next ten years. Eventually the couple decided to build a more comfortable lodging in which to spend their winter vacation, and in the late 1920's construction began on the Death Valley Ranch.

Scott told everyone that he was building the Two million dollar property with the profits from his mining operation, and when asked by visiting reporters and tourists Mr. Johnson actually agreed, passing himself off as Scott's banker. The tale of Death Valley Scotty as the world's richest gold miner, brought tourists to the area in great numbers, eventually the Johnson's retired to Hollywood leaving the castle to a charitable trust, which ran the building as a hotel. Death Valley Scotty continued to live in the building until his death in 1954. He was buried on the hill that overlooks the castle. In 1970 the castle was sold to the National Park Service, which continues to operate and maintain the building as a tourist attraction. National Park Service tours of the castle are available throughout the year. Contact the NPS at Scotty's Castle is located 45 miles north of Stove Pipe Wells, on highway 267.

1 comment:

yukino_miyazawa said...

Hola no estoy muy segura de que si he traducido vien ya que mi ingles es muy malo.

Saludos y un abrazo^.^