Hard Luck Mine Castle becomes an Airbnb rental

A Gothic-style castle 187 miles from Las Vegas near Death Valley, Calif. Has been sold and will be turned into an Airbnb rental for tourists looking for a secluded getaway.

Known as the Hard Luck Mine Castle, the property, which the media and the public refer to as an apocalyptic castle but which the original owner said was not, sold for $ 550,000. It was listed at $ 900,000 in the spring of 2019 when Real Estate Millions introduced the castle and owner to builder Randy Johnston.

The four-story, round castle has 22 rooms and measures 8,000 square feet. It is located on 40 acres off Highway 267 in Esmeralda County, approximately 35 miles from Goldfield, near Death Valley National Park.

New owner Richard Socher, former data scientist and executive vice president of Salesforce, said he plans to put the house on the short-term rental market by the end of June.

Airbnb noted that rentals of rural and unique outdoor properties were on the rise as travelers sought to get away from city life, Socher said. National parks have seen a huge increase in the number of visits and towns closer to national parks have done well, he said.

“I’m ready to take the bet,” Socher said. “You have these incredible views. You have the impression of being in the middle of nowhere and having an entire valley to yourself. You have these fascinating ancient gold and silver mines. Especially now with COVID and people who can work remotely, it will be an interesting experience for a lot of people to hang out there and work for a week or two. “

The surrounding Nevada desert is considered a playground in the Southwest where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy recreational activities such as riding ATVs, hiking, or exploring the historic gold mine, Socher said.

“There are a lot of off-road people who will enjoy the place,” Socher said. “I camped in these mountains for two or three years and was only a few miles from the castle and didn’t know I was so close. I think there will be enough curious people to be the king of the castle for a few days. I think it’s the only castle you can rent on Airbnb in this part of the world. With my favorite national park nearby, an off-road epic, a century-old organ, interesting mining history, and beautiful stargazing, I’m sure many people will enjoy this space.

The property has a games room, theater, fountain room, solarium, planetarium, wine cellar and workshop. The observatory is used for stargazing and the nearby military test site. The light at the top is 62 feet above the ground.

The Great Hall has a 28-foot ceiling and a reconstructed 1920s Wurlitzer organ, and pipes from an old Los Angeles cathedral are an important aspect for the house.

The main entrance is on the second level and has doors and windows that appear to belong to a castle with their arches and the use of redwood in the doorway. The closed entrance pays homage to the “Wizard of Oz” with a maze of the Yellow Brick Road and emerald in the ground to represent Emerald City.

Socher, 37, a Bay Area resident, said the castle renovation for an Airbnb comes as he prepares to launch a new search engine this summer: you.com. He said that people like him appreciate the desert, the stars, the loneliness and the beauty of the landscape. It feels like an adventure while heartwarming, he said.

“I travel in national parks and I love Death Valley National Park and I love the desert and the great outdoors in America, the Wild West and ghost towns and (abandoned mines). “It’s a strange, interesting, beautiful and original place. What prompted someone to build a castle in the middle of the desert? There is some beautiful architecture in there and some not yet so beautiful, but we are working on it right now by renovating it. I like to share beautiful places with people and I probably organize events there. There is a beautiful organ. I’ll probably have gigs there, a little stargazing and just enjoy the desert.

Johnston built the castle out of fortified steel, cinder blocks and 16-inch concrete walls. It runs on its own solar and wind and diesel generators. It has a 4000 gallon water tank and a 3000 gallon propane tank.

Socher said they were installing new solar panels and working on a water source.

“People call it a prepper castle, but it’s not at all,” Socher said. “He had this crazy idea that he sketched on a napkin that he was going to build this castle.”

Johnston, who owned a plumbing business, said he built the castle at an elevation of 6,000 feet and built on a mountain for seclusion and quiet to get out of town. It started in 2000, and it took it a decade to build.

Johnston hammered the granite for pouring the footings in 2000, laid the block, numbering 24,000, and fabricated the metal for the house, which has 7 tons of rebar and over 1,000 yards of concrete. He was helped by two friends.

The castle has been classified by Coldwell Banker Premier Realty. Listing agent Brian Krueger said the COVID-19 pandemic offered the perfect time to sell the bunker-like off-grid fortress. He said there is more interest these days in more rural settings where people can have space.

“We are extremely pleased with the sale of the Hard Luck Castle and what we believe to be one of the most unique properties sold in Nevada this year,” said Krueger, senior vice president of strategic services for Coldwell Banker Premier Realty . “The process, while much longer than a typical sale, has culminated with a willing seller, maximum exposure, and a creative buyer who plans to leverage the location and distinctive attributes of the property for others to benefit.”

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