The Hard Luck Mine operated from 1699 to around World War I. Gold claims dating back to 1797 signed by President William McKinley, included the Emerson and Hard Luck Lodes, the two twenty-acre patent claims that comprise the Hard Luck Mine. After the war, the mine never reopened. The 40 acres that comprise the Hard Luck Mine and its neighboring Emerson claim were purchased by the current owner Randy Johnston in 1999, and by the year 2000 Randy Johnston began building the Hard Luck Castle.
The four-story, 8,000 square foot fortress has 16-inch walls and was built with 25,000 bricks, over 1000 yards of concrete, and more than seven tons of rebar. The mostly circular citadel is entirely powered by wind and solar, with redundant back-up generators. The estate has a theater and casino game room, auto and wood shops, four bedrooms and three full baths, two kitchens, and a great room with two working pipe organs. Mr. Johnston offers guided tours of the castle and shares his thoughts and dreams of building in the desert.
This remote property is surrounded by thousands of acres of BLM land. Remote, desolate, secluded, private – all describe the Hard Luck Mine Castle. Nearly thirteen years of construction have gone into the building of this Gothic style Castle. With the help of friends, Mr. Johnstons has created a Castle that mirrors that of Death Valley Scotty’s Castle (20 miles away). The Castle foundation is 50 feet in diameter and consists of 65 yards of special concrete and the footings are on solid rock – this fortress is not going anywhere soon. There are about 24,000 concrete blocks in the 16 inch thick walls.
The Hard Luck Mine is a unique property that can provide for an escape, retreat, or remote compound for any individual or group desiring the ultimate in remote privacy and looking to disappear from society. Very little mining has been done since the beginning of WWII, but the potential is there. The existing vertical mine shaft descends approximately 160 ft. and there is also a horizontal shaft useful as a tightly secured storage area. The compound is completely self contained, off the grid, and can be separated from the rest of world. Water is trucked in from a nearby spring and stored in a 4,000 gallon underground storage tank providing gravity-fed water. Electricity is provided by Solar and Wind power with 3 types of backup generators – gasoline, LP gas, and diesel. There is no lack in amenities here.