"I've learned that a man can take what he has, no matter how little, and make from it what he wants. Death Valley brought life to me -- and I brought life to Death Valley!"
These are the words of 70-year-old Elias, founder of the resort that today is known as Delight's Hot Spring Resort, a man who a few short years before arriving in the middle of the barren desert to die. Elias was an arthritic cripple, who in a time of desperation, took the advice of a friend who suggested that Elias leave Los Angeles and spend a few weeks in the warm spring mud baths in the far reaches of the Mojave Desert.
"Lie in that mud for a few weeks, and you'll be a new man." His friend's prediction came true. After spending nearly a month bathing in the warm, natural mud baths and drinking the natural hot springs Mineral Water, Elias was well enough to begin the exploration of the surrounding desert and discovered an area that contained hundreds of warm springs. Elias knew that he had found the perfect spot for a health spa.
Eventually, when Elias attempted to lease or purchase this land, he discovered it was not for sale. Not purchasable, that is, with normal currency. Congress, he discovered, set aside the land for Veteran homesteading. The law provided that the land could only be purchased with the Civil War script. The federal government issued a Civil War script to discharged soldiers after the U.S. Civil war. Nearly all such currency had long been lost or hidden away in museums.
Elias, however, remembered that his grandfather was a civil war veteran and recalled seeing odd-looking coupons framed in his parents' home. He returned to Nebraska and found $2,000.00 worth of Civil War Script currency which was the exact amount required to purchase it.
He and his wife Betty raised a small amount of capital and set out to build a town with 2 1/2 miles of railroad trackage and ties from the abandoned Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad. Transformed from a penniless cripple to a vibrant and productive man, Elias successfully built a small desert empire.
- Original History derived from Nelson Thorne's account, 1955.