I want to offer all my beloved readers and followers the chance of a lifetime. There’s a certain bridge in Brooklyn, which I can sell to you at a great price! If you’re interested, please contact me for the details. No, not interested? Well, today’s your lucky day, because I also happen to have some swampland in Florida which is a great buy. Any takers? No? Hmm. Well how about investing in a gold mine in California? Would you be interested in that?
Well, I don’t blame you! But around 100 years ago, Walter Scott, also known as Death Valley Scotty, convinced quite a few investors from the East that he was running a successful gold mining operation, and he conned them into investing thousands of dollars in his non-existent mine. When one of his investors, Albert Johnson, decided that he wanted to see the mine for himself, Scotty was in a bit of a bind.
The park rangers at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley National Park tell the rest of the entertaining story. They describe what happened when Johnson’s party arrived in California. It was quite an adventure that Scotty had planned for them, and it all ended up backfiring for him. In the end, Johnson realized that the whole gold mining operation was a scam and that he had been conned by Walter Scott. Johnson had a great time on his western adventure, however, and he and Scotty became close friends. Johnson built Death Valley Ranch as a vacation home in the 20’s and 30’s, and Scotty lived there full time. Scotty entertained guests with his outrageous stories, and the ranch became known as Scotty’s Castle.
I took the tour of the castle on a recent trip to Death Valley. One of the highlights of the tour for me was hearing the pipe organ that is installed in the large music room. Our ranger guide played two pieces of music on the organ (it was a player system--he didn’t actually play it himself). The sound is spectacular. You can feel the bass notes reverberate through your body, and the entire organ has a clear, clean sound. It’s really magnificent.
I enjoyed my trip to Scotty’s Castle, and I would recommend taking the tour if you visit Death Valley.