Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo Essay: Inside Scotty's Castle

A visit to Scotty's Castle would not be complete without actually going inside of it...



...especially since the interiors have been remarkably preserved...



...and the National Parks Service manages to provide remarkable access to them, primarily unbounded by velvet ropes.



Just please don't walk on the colorful carpets, which are original.



And please don't sit in the chairs.



And you must squint your eyes, since natural daylight is at a premium inside the dark castle, presumably protecting all of its furnishings from sunbleaching and other damage.



The castle is just as ornate inside as outside...



...featuring tremendous carvings, tilework, fireplaces, waterfalls, and fountains...



...both in the main house, and across the bridge in the Annex...



...which features a line of guest rooms...



...each outfitted in its own themed decor.



If you enter the Annex through the spiral staircase...



...which winds up through another turret...



...you reach the music room...



...which houses the pièce de résistence of the entire castle: a Welte pipe organ, installed in 1928 with moving slats hidden in the wall that open to allow for sound.



It is no ordinary pipe organ, though ones of its kind were used once to accompany silent films.



This one features not only 1121 pipes, but also chimes, cymbals, various bells, and bird calls, plus a glockenspiel, a xylophone, drums, and a grand piano. It cost more than $50,000 at the time to purchase, deliver and install, and Albert Johnson - the man who built Scotty's Castle - bought two of them: one for Death Valley Ranch, and one for his mansion back in Chicago.



After hearing just a snippet of the music that this organ can conjure, it seems worth a return trip for the annual organ concert, which raises money to maintain the castle and its chime tower.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Scotty's Unfinished Castle
Photo Essay: Searching for Gold Under Scotty's Castle

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