From Hollywood to the Sierra foothills, a silent film actress helped turned a small gold rush town upside down.
Mono County is home to one of the first tourist traps in California. It's known as the upside-down house. The attraction is the brain child of actress Nellie Bly O'Bryan.
After leaving the silver screen in the 1950's, she started a Hotel Resort on Lundy Lake near the east entrance of Yosemite National Park. To attract tourists, she built an upside-down minor’s cabin complete with upside-down furniture.
Linda La Pierre is a historian at the Mono Lake Historical Society. She helped publish a lot of Nellie's old memoirs after she died.
“She really was a one-woman Chamber of Commerce," La Pierre said. “She did a lot of back packing and guiding. She was a California guide.”
Nellie’s upside-down house even made it into Life magazine.
However, Nellie died in 1984. The upside-down house was rescued and trucked several miles into Lee Vining in October of 2000. The Mono Basin Historical Museum restored the house to its original condition.
“Nellie built this house with her own hands and it survived all these years," La Pierre said.
The upside-down house is open from Labor Day through the end of September.
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