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by Linda Hoernke
St. George, Utah
March 7, 2007
From journal Day Trips into Death Valley
April 5, 2001
Death Valley Scotty was born Walter Scott in 1872, and was raised in Kentucky. He left home as a young boy to work the ranches of the west with his brother. Scotty eventually settled in Death Valley where he was discovered by scouts of Buffalo Bills Wild West Show. He toured with the Wild West Show for many years until he found a more lucrative line of work, swindling money out of wealthy investors, telling them he had a gold mine. He would explain that he just needed enough money to work the mine. Over the course of the next several years, Albert Johnson invested several thousand dollars in Scotty's fictitious mine. When Johnson visited the mine for himself while touring Death Valley he decided to build a home in Grapevine Canyon, where Scotty's Castle sits today. Death Valley Scotty and Albert Johnson became good friends and in the 1920's began construction of Scotty's Castle.
So how did it get the name Scotty's Castle? Scotty told people that he was building the castle with profits from the gold mine; it wasn't true, but the name stuck.
To get there go north on Hwy. 95 from Beaty Nevada until you reach Grapevine Canyon, turn west and a 21 miles down the road you will run into it. Tours are run by the National Park Service dressed in period costumes, circa 1939.
The tour guides put on a pretty good show as if they were servants, still cursing Scotty to this day. There is a gift shop, of course, and picnic tables are available.
I understand that during later years, the castle actually served as a hotel in the 1950's where Scotty still insisted the two million dollar castle was actually his.
From journal Death Valley,Contrast on the Desert