Friday, May 4 – Our last stop in Death Valley was Scotty's Castle.
The castle takes its name from Walter Scott, better known as “Death Valley Scotty,” an ex-cowboy, prospector and performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. A very good Hustler Extraordinaire, to say the least.
Chicago millionaire, Albert Johnson, who had been urged by his doctors to sped time in a warm, dry climate, was convinced by Mrs. Johnson to build a mansion. At the time, Scotty told visitors he financed the building himself with booty from a secret gold mine in Death Valley.
The 1920s-era building is decorated with Spanish and Italian antiques, leather furniture, had-carved redwood beams, and iron chandeliers.
Custom crafted tile floors are covered with handmade Spanish Majorcan rugs. All furnishings are original and visitors are asked not to touch anything but the railing on the stairways.
The Welte-Mignon theater pipe organ features 1121 pipes, a grand piano, glockenspiel, xylophone, chimes, orchestra bells, sleigh bells, bird calls and a drum and cymbal assortment, and cost more than $50,000 to purchase, deliver and install in 1928. Pipe organs like the Welte-Mignon Pipe Organ in Scotty's Castle were used to accompany silent films.
Here is the funny part…neither Albert nor Bessie could play a note. Not one note did they ever play. They brought guests in to play the instruments and had some them converted to player pianos. Our guide told so many stories like this. It was so delightful to hear these stories.
Scotty's Castle is a great place to learn more about the strange and colorful history of Death Valley and its only mansion. Tours ($11 for adults with half-off for those with the Senior Pass) run throughout the day. We were warned, that lines can get very long for the tours. We arrived a few minutes after 1 p.m. and quickly joined a tour getting started without any wait!
There is so much more to this castle that it would take tons of photos to show it all. Our advice…don't miss it.
Be sure to fill the gas tank BEFORE heading to Death Valley. There is only one filling-station inside the park and gas prices are “deadly.” Regular unleaded was selling for $5.96 per gallon. We filled our Honda CRV before leaving Pahrump and had about 30 miles in reserve by the time we returned and filled up in Pahrump for $3.58 per gallon.
A very long day.....about 10-hours by the time we returned home. Tiring, but glad we say we saw what was on our list! Tomorrow, we'll relax!
Thanks to everyone who let us know that the clicking on the photos for enlargement is working great. So…click away.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all come back real soon. Have a great day.