Boone County Public Library

2021•05 - BCPL Newsletter

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6 experience... PROGRAMS & EVENTS FOR teens explore... COMMUNITY AND LOCAL HISTORY ...because your history can be found here. "Death Valley Scotty" was a man as colorful as his name. Throughout his 82 years, Walter Scott wore many hats: adventurer, cowboy, gold prospector, millionaire and all-around im-am man among them. His most well-known undertaking was the 1905 record-breaking, cross-country run of a train which came to be known as the "Scott Special." Consisting of a locomotive engine and three cars, Scotty's train made its way from Los Angeles to Chicago in 44 hours and 54 minutes. The engine was changed 18 times throughout the journey, to avoid technical issues, but other- wise the equipment was standard. The "Scott Special's" 2,265-mile run beat the previous record-holder by nearly eight hours, and the record held for over twenty years. The trip was designed to promote the Big Bell Mine, and was funded by mine owner E. B. Gaylord. Gaylord hoped the spectacle would advertise his mining operation, but what he ended up paying for was Walter Scott's legendary perso- na. The train (and Scott) was front-page news for three days in papers across the country, and crowds of thousands came out to watch it pass. Reportedly, Scott threw out handfuls of dollar bills to the crowd in Chicago. The amboyant "Death Valley Scotty" was a local boy. He was born in 1872, the youngest of six, to George and Elizabeth Perry Scott near Dry Creek. Dif- fering accounts place his birth in either Boone or Kenton County; the extended family settled in both. Walter's thirst for adventure came early, when he left Kentucky at the age of eleven, to join his brothers who were working as surveyors in Nevada and Cali- fornia. A few years later, Walter's equestrian skills were noticed by a recruiter for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, a job which lasted for twelve years. After leaving the show, Walter turned his attention to gold prospecting. He began convincing many wealthy investors that he held rights to a lucrative mine. One of his investors, Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson, came west to inves- tigate the operation in person. He joined Scott in Death Valley, and though it was clear that the success of the mine was a ruse, Johnson was charmed by Scott, and they became great friends. The climate of the West was benecial to John- son's health, and he built an elaborate 22,000 square foot home in the desert. Scott lived on the property, and promoted it as a tourist destination. Though he never owned the property, it became known as "Scotty's Castle." Walter Scott died in 1954, and is buried on the property. Death Valley Scotty by Hillary Delaney, Local History Associate For more information about Boone County's past, check out our Local History page at bcpl.org/lhg book C E L L A R Open two days a week in the basement of the Main Library, the Book Cellar offers great deals on used books, DVDs, music CDs and more! We accept cash, check and Library Bucks. And that's not all! Each library location, except Chapin Memorial, has a book shelf with used books for sale. Hours Tuesdays 4 - 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

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