Haunted hotel and opera house near Death Valley struggle to survive and keep ballerina’s legacy alive

Paranormal

MYSTERY WIRE (Death Valley Junction, CA) — While most of nearby Las Vegas’ major resorts have reopened and the shows along the Las Vegas Strip have come back to life, it’s only a taste of normal in abnormal times. In Death Valley Junction, California it’s another story. One unique hotel, long rumored to be haunted and an opera house are just trying to hang on and it’s a reminder of what could happen.

“Imagine a place that’s in the middle of nowhere,” said general manager of the Amargosa Hotel & Opera House Bobbi Fabian.

“We are in the middle of nowhere. So, it is hard for people to remember that we’re here and that we do need help.”

Marta Becket liked the isolation. Back in 1967, the ballerina and her husband had car trouble at what was then known as Amargosa Junction. It tuned out they fell in love with the tiny community and never left. The Amargosa Opera House was her personal canvas, her own stage where she performed for decades until death in 2017.

Marta Becket performed at the Amargosa Opera House. Her show drew people from around the world.

Fred Conboy helps keep her spirit alive but it’s getting harder to do. “We see the ruins of Death Valley Junction as not an option. This has sustained in the past, and will sustain in the future,” he said.

Coronavirus forced it all to close back in March. The hotel reopened a few weeks ago, but only at half capacity. Over the past months, very few have been in the opera house. “People want to see the stage being used and Marta’s legacy live on,” Fabian said.

Amargosa Opera House (KLAS-TV file photo)

Until that happens, the hotel and opera house has a GoFundMe page. Money raised helps keep the lights on, pay the few staff still there and makes sure Marta’s creation doesn’t drift away.

“It’s something that needs constant work,” Fabian said. “It needs to be nourished and loved, just like Marta loved it.”

Becket found the poetry of living in remoteness. The next act is keeping her show alive on the desert’s most desolate stage.         

“There’s a conspiracy of all these wonderful things that come here, that will offer someone a chance to feel that this place will sustain, even if it were to fall to dust.”

The hotel has been written about by authors, journalists, and travelers from around the world. Recently The Travel Channel gave the old borax mining and railroad town this write-up:

It’s not just the lurking, lonely spirits that give Death Valley Junction, CA, a reputation as a ghost town — the population (of the living) only numbers about 20. The dusty town’s buildings were constructed by the Pacific Borax Mining Company in the 1920s, and many have fallen into a state of disrepair. The town has no gas station and only one restaurant – a café that’s part of the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, a strange desert outpost that was lovingly repaired by Marta Becket in the 1960s. A dancer, Marta gave performances (sometimes to an empty audience) in the theatre up until February 2012. If you’re lucky enough to visit the un-renovated, abandoned part of the hotel, you’re sure to learn why it’s now referred to as “Spooky Hollow.”

The Travel Channel

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