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Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle

March 13, 2011

On Monday we visited Scotty’s Castle. My dad had been years ago and thought we’d like it. I loved the style and took a ton of photos, so bear with me! Many aren’t great quality, but I wanted to post them here anyway.


The name of the house is actually Death Valley Ranch, but they call it Scotty’s Castle now due to the story behind it. Short version: a rich man (and his wife) moved to the desert (in the 1920s, I think) for health reasons and built this house. Scotty was actually a con man who ended up becoming friends with the rich guy (Albert Johnson?) and staying at and near the castle (with his expenses paid by Johnson). Johnson didn’t want the fame that went with being the owner of this place, so he and his wife let Scotty lead people to believe it was his, and visitors would come and listen to Scotty’s (untrue) stories about it.

You can see from the photos that the house is in a Spanish/mission style, which is a look I love–it makes me feel all vacationy. There’s a spring on this property that supplies way more water than necessary, so there are trees and the lot is like an oasis. You hardly remember you’re in the desert! I really liked it.


Some of the exterior.





Those tiles on the bottom left are all stacked up in the basement. They were for the swimming pool which was never completed. I’m not sure why they don’t sell them or something–they’re really neat and just sitting there!


More of the tiles and some other details inside the house. They appreciated fine craftmanship and tried to incorporate some pieces they saw on travels around the world.


The top left is our tour guide, dressed in period clothing. Top right is an old car that belonged to the owner and is still parked in the garage.




There was a pipe organ in part of the house, and at the end of the tour the guide turns on the automatic piano and organ that do a duet. It was really fun! She’s standing in front of where the organ music comes out in that top right photo.


For some reason I wanted to take a million photos of this spiral staircase. It’s photogenic! My parents and I were also admiring the tile floor–how all the random pieces fit together so nicely.


I’m sad this photo is overexposed, because it’s one of my favorites. It was very dark inside the house and I had my settings all wrong when we briefly went outside again.

Okay, that’s enough. 🙂 Have any of you been here?

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10 Comments
  1. I love architecture like this; beautiful!!! neat story behind it too.

  2. Beautiful!

  3. Anonymous permalink

    Wow, how gorgeous is that? I'd take it if they ever put it up cheap ; )

    -Dan

  4. HOLY COW. These are gorgeous pictures!!!! They could easily be wall art or postcards, WOW. Now I'm even more bummed my car hit a rock when I tried to see it years ago. One day I'll go again. Good job! So beautiful!

  5. Wow, that's beautiful!! I think I may have read a magazine article about this house a while back.

  6. I think this is my favorite set from all of the ones that you took on this trip! I just love how you captured different aspects of the castle.Love it!! You have such a good eye! (or should I say, you have good eyes…I don't want to imply that you're a cyclops or anything)

  7. So many textures and colors and patterns … I keep looking at this post over and over. This is my fourth visit (not my last) and I just love it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you everyone. 🙂 Such nice comments!

    Dan – Yeah I think they said it's worth 48 million right now. So yeah, it's pretty cheap!

    Dania – I think they're my favorites too! I just liked photographing something different than my usual. And thanks for clarifying because I was initially very offended and thought maybe you forgot I was not, in fact, a cyclops!

    Thanks, R! 🙂 You're a dedicated sister.

  9. Anonymous permalink

    I really like the picture you took of the car. It's so artsy! The little reading couch looks cool, too. I like all the pictures. This was a good stop! – Mom

  10. This place is so cool! So much beauty and care in the design. 🙂

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