The history surrounding Walter Scott, or "Death Valley Scotty," and how he built this amazing Spanish-Mediterranean style castle is rich with trickery, deceit, and a life-long friendship built on mistrust.
After 12 years traveling with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Walter tried his luck mining for gold in Death Valley. While these efforts were unsuccessful, he did convince a few investors that he was sitting on a gold mine, and was able to swindle money from them for a few years. After seeing no results, all of the investors pulled out of the mine except for an insurance tycoon named Albert Johnson.
Albert insisted on seeing the claim and traveled to Death Valley check it out. Fearing he would be caught, Walter staged a gun fight with his brother. During the charade, Walter accidently shot his own brother, and the facade was up. Oddly enough, Albert was not mad at Walter and they ended up becoming good, lifelong friends.
It was Albert and his wife who financed the building of the castle as a winter vacation home, and they allowed Walter to say he was building it. Walter told his investors it was from all the gold he was mining, so the legend of Death Valley Scotty continued until his death in 1954. The castle went on to become a hotel and tourist attraction, and it was later purchased by the National Park Service.
Guided tours through the castle happen every few hours and cost $15 to enter. A trail leading to Scotty's Grave and the surrounding property is a good way to kill time if you are waiting for a tour to begin. There are also a few shaded picnic areas near the parking lot.