Named after Walter Scott AKA “Death Valley Scotty”, Scottys Castle or the Death Valley Ranch is located on some 1500 acres in Grapevine Canyon in Death Valley.
Built by Scott’s benefactor Albert Johnson in 1922, the Death Valley ranch cost between 1.5 – 2.5 million to construct at that time. The stock market crash of 1929 cost Johnson a considerable amount of money, and the ranch was never finished.
Scotty was a prospector, stunt rider and con man who used to con investors in to backing his “mining” adventures. It was reported that when the investor’s delegation wanted the view their new mine, Scotty would march them around the hot valley until they forgave or forgot about their investment.
On March 11, 1906 Scotty stared as himself in a play which opened in Seattle to a full house. We was arrested after his only performance and the change for his crimes, the publicity exposed him to new investors. In spite of this Albert Johnson maintain interested in his “mine”. Another investigator was sent, who reported back that the mine did not exist. Johnson refused to believe this, and the following year he visited the mine himself, but left without seeing the mine. He was later sued by his investors in 1915 and ended up in jail.
In 1922, Johnson started building Scotty’s castle as a vacation home. When the size and scope of the property was realized, people assumed Scotty used the proceeds for his gold mine to pay for the Ranch. Scotty, ever the promoter did nothing to correct the record and soon The Johnson’ vacation home.
The Death Valley Ranch was know as “Scotty’s Castle in spite of the fact that Scotty rarely stayed over, rather living and sleeping at a 5 room cabin in lower vine canyon a short distance away
Due to its remote location, the Death Valley Ranch needed to maintain its own power station and water supply and evaporation cooling system. Despite the conditions, Scotty’s Castle boasts a 1,121 pipe theater organ, fountains, clock tower and a massive unfinished swimming pool.
There is no longer gas available at Scotty’s castle or grapevine canyon.
Scottys Castle was flooded in 2015 and not currently open to the public. The opening date has been pushed many times and currently scheduled for 2022. The flood was the result of over 3 inches in rain in just over 5 hours. The flash flood left debris in the visitors center over one foot deep and washed out the road.