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Fire destroys historic building at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley, damages another

Rangers Stand in Remnants of Garage after Fire at Scottys Castle .JPG
Scottys Castle Garage 2004 NPS Photo.JPG
Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 20:30:02-04

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — A fire destroyed the historic garage and damaged a second historic outbuilding at Scotty’s Castle on Thursday morning.

The historic district in Death Valley National Park has been closed for ongoing repair work after extensive flood damage in 2015.

PREVIOUS: Restoration work continues at Scotty's Castle after 2015 flood

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.

PREVIOUS: Flooding closes roads around Death Valley

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

Scottys Castle Garage 2004 NPS Photo.JPG
This file photo taken in 2004. Even though this building served as the Johnsons’ garage, its ornamental Spanish style reflected the luxuriousness of the main house. (Photo: National Park Service)

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.