Fire at Scotty’s Castle Destroys One Historic Outbuilding, Damages Another, Says DVNP Press Release

Fire destroyed the historic garage and damaged a second historic outbuilding at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley National Park. The main house was not damaged.

DEATH VALLEY, CA – A fire destroyed the historic garage and damaged a second historic outbuilding at Scotty’s Castle on Thursday morning, April 22. The historic district in Death Valley National Park has been closed for ongoing repair work after extensive flood damage in 2015.

Upon arriving at the worksite in the morning, construction contractors reported active fire within the garage and long shed buildings. Contractors on scene attempted to stop the fire from spreading further into the long shed.

When firefighters from Death Valley National Park and Beatty Volunteer Fire Department arrived, the fire was mostly contained. Crews monitored for hotspots and stabilized the remains of the structures. A deputy from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office also responded.

Rangers stand near the remnants of the historic garage in the Death Valley Scotty Historic District. The main house, in the distance, did not incur any damage. NPS Photo

Even though this building served as the Johnsons’ garage, its ornamental Spanish-style reflected the luxuriousness of the main house. (Photo taken in 2004)

The historic main house and other surrounding historic structures were unharmed. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation.

The historic garage, which was used as a visitor center, was the most heavily damaged building in the October 2015 flash flood.

Scotty’s Castle was constructed in the 1920s as a vacation home for Albert and Bessie Johnson, millionaires from Chicago. Since its construction, Scotty’s Castle has drawn visitors seeking the truth behind the legend that it was built on a gold mine owned by the Johnsons’ friend, Walter “Scotty” Scott.

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