Walter Scott (1872-1954) sold a percentage of the profits from his Death Valley "gold mine"--many times over--to gullible investors back east. One of those investors was Albert Johnson, a Chicago insurance magnate. After sending thousands of dollars to Scotty over a number of years, Johnson became skeptical of Scotty's excuses for why there were no profits and he came to Death Valley to see the mine for himself. Scotty assumed that a few days riding around in 130+ degree heat would be too much for Johnson and he would go home. Instead, Johnson's health improved dramatically in the hot, arid desert and he stayed for a month and returned year after year. The two men became fast friends, and Johnson decided to build a vacation home in the valley--Death Valley Ranch. From 1922 when construction began until the Johnsons died in the 1940s, they spent more than two million dollars building their Provincial Spanish "castle" in the desert.
Trails and Treasures Home Page Journey to the American Southwest 2003 Death Valley