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Death Valley's Quirky Scotty's Castle Closed Due To Flooding
Flooding in Death Valley has caused damage to Scotty's Castle, a historic attraction with a quirky past that will now remain closed for several months.
Scotty's Castle is a Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion in Death Valley in the Grapevine Mountains. Sunday's rain has filled its visitors' center, the grounds and various other structures with mud and debris, the L.A. Times reports. Luckily, the main house was not damaged.
Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds said that the National Park Service will bring in experts to figure out what work has to be done. The castle will likely remain closed for the next several months.
Scotty's Castle is named for Walter "Death Valley Scotty" Scott who was, well, a con man from Kentucky. He claimed to have built the castle using funds from secret gold mines he found in the area, but the money actually came from his friend, wealthy Chicago businessman Albert Mussey Johnson.
Scott had tricked Johnson into investing in his gold mine operations in Death Valley. Those gold mines did not exist. For some inexplicable reason, however, Johnson decided to remain friends with Scott after finding out he was a liar. He also fell in love with Death Valley, and his wife, Bessie, suggested building a vacation home there.
The Johnsons spent $2 million building the gorgeous home, which was completed in 1931, and would often vacation there in the winter. They had no children to the pass the home onto when they died, so they left it to Johnson's charity, the Gospel Foundation. The National Park Service purchased it in 1970 for $850,000.
Visitors could pay to go on tours of the castle, including a tour of the tunnels. About 100,000 people stopped by each year.