Sunday, March 7, 2010

Scotty’s Castle, Death Valley

A man named Walter Scott, also known as “Death Valley Scotty”, convinced Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson to invest in his (fraudulent) gold mine in the Death Valley area. Johnson made many trips to the area, eventually bringing his wife, Bessie Johnson. Over the course of his visits Johnson came to terms with a disability that lingered from an 1894 accident. Bessie apparently became convinced that Death Valley was good for his health. She encouraged the idea of building something more comfortable than the rough shack Johnson had built earlier. Construction began on Scotty's Castle (Death Valley Ranch) in 1922, at a cost of $1.4 million dollars.
Johnson eventually forgave Scott for his fraudulent scheming, and the two became friends. Scott claimed that he had built the castle for himself, and it became known as "Scotty's Castle". Scott put in regular appearances at the castle to entertain Johnson's dinner guests with his stories, spinning unbelievable tales about his life and mine. Johnson did nothing to discourage Scott's tall tales, regarding it as merely amusement.

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