Hard Luck Mine Castle – Goldfield, Nevada - Atlas Obscura
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Hard Luck Mine Castle

This magnificent, quirky home sits atop a literal gold mine in the middle of the Nevada desert.  


Less than 200 miles from the bright, beaming lights of Las Vegas lies a bizarre property filled with oddities just waiting to be explored.

When Randy Johnston purchased the 40 acres in 1998, he learned that the land required no inspections or permits, which meant he could build whatever his heart desired. It took around 24,000 bricks, the help of some very good friends (including a car salesman, scrap dealer, and an emergency room doctor), and a little over 10 years to bring his vision to life. 

Today, his building stands four stories tall, casting a shadow across the scorching desert. With 16 inch thick walls, the structure’s exterior is massively impressive. However, inside the house is where the true treasures are hidden.

Inside, Johnston has created a woodshop, wine cellar, theater room, solarium, an outdoor deck to die for, and last but not least, two 1920’s pipe organs that echo throughout the halls. The entire setup looks as though it was plucked from a western novel. 

With Death Valley nearby, the property is equipped with solar panels and utilizes wind energy for sustainability. Complete with a quintessential miner’s cabin and outdoor showers, the Hard Luck Castle is a hipster’s dream. 

Not only are the structures themselves interesting pieces of architecture, but the Hard Luck Mine on the property operated from 1897 until World War II. Rumor has it that the mine still houses a wealth of gold.

Know Before You Go

Randy runs tours daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a $10 donation. The original miner's cabin is also available to rent.

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