“Would You Enjoy a Trip to Hell?...You Might Enjoy a Trip to Death Valley, Now! It has all the advantages of hell without the inconveniences.”
"Considering Death Valley’s reputation as the hottest, driest, and lowest place in America, this April Fool’s Day, 1907 advertisement (above) in the Death Valley Chuck-Walla—a local mining camp newspaper—was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Yet only twenty years later, a luxury hotel was built that would help change Death Valley from hell-hole to tourist mecca."
"The Furnace Creek Inn was built by the Pacific Coast Borax Company of Twenty Mule Team fame as a means to save their newly built Death Valley Railroad. Mines had closed and shipping transportation was no longer needed, but mining tourist pockets seemed a sure way to keep the narrow-gauge line active. The borax company realized travelers by train would need a place to stay and wealthy visitors accustomed to comfort would be attracted to a luxury hotel."
I took this entrance, curious to learn where it led.
"First opened for business in 1927, the Furnace Creek Inn was an immediate success. Unfortunately for the mining company, their railroad closed forever in 1930 when it became apparent tourists preferred the freedom of arriving to Death Valley in their own cars. Nonetheless, the Inn remained popular, and construction continued for the next ten years.
"Designed by prominent Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin and landscape architect Daniel Hull, the 66 room Inn sprawls across a low hill at the mouth of Furnace Creek Wash. With views over Death Valley and the Panamint Mountains to the west, the Inn’s location was well chosen but rather conspicuous.
"The Inn’s wings wrap around a lovely garden of palms and flowing water, a nod to both mission courtyards and the Hollywood image of a fantasy desert oasis.
"...In February 1933, President Hoover signed a proclamation creating Death Valley National Monument. More than sixty years later, Death Valley finally was designated a National Park in 1994.