Nellie Bly was lot like the rest of us. While she was working on a movie set near Mammoth she fell in love with the Eastern Sierra. But she was a woman with a mind of her own and was not afraid to take chances and try new experiences. She was the first licensed movie projectionist, first licensed fishing and hiking guide and women of vision. She was a strong woman of her time and place and an inspiration to the young women of then and today!
Nellie Bly Baker O’Bryan, born in Oklahoma in 1893, moved to Los Angeles in 1917 and was the country’s first licensed women movie projectionist. She then embarked on a film career and appeared in 48 films working alongside big names such as Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, and Clark Gable, just to name a few.
During the filming of “The Thundering Herd” a western starring Randolph Scott near Mammoth Lakes she became enthralled with the Eastern Sierra and resolved that she and her husband should live there soon. Not long after her stardom was launched she gave up her career and moved to the Eastern Sierra.
Nellie Bly bought property at Lundy Lake In 1939 and opened the “Happy Landing Resort”. She knew at once she belonged in the mountains as it supported her passions for a rugged lifestyle. She built her cabin in Lundy lake out of boards from remaining buildings and lived there year around. For her resort she built four more cabins, a store and a restaurant. She then became California’s first licensed fishing and hiking guide, and maintained the resort until 1952. Then she sold the property to the Millers (Now Lundy Lake Resort) and moved to Mono Lake. Her original Lundy Lake cabin still stands today. Last Structure is the Cabin
In Mono Lake, she built and ran the “The Upside Down House” along US-395 north of the Tioga Lodge. It was inspired by two children’s stories—“Upside Down Land” and “The Upsidedownians.” It was Mono County’s first “man-made” tourist attraction that ran from 1956 to about 1968. Upon her death in 1984 The Upside-Down House fell into disrepair until October 9, 2000 when it was rescued and moved to the Old Schoolhouse Museum in Lee Vining.Upside-Down House
In 2009, Heull Howser's California Gold television series shown on PBS channels featured the “Upside-Down House”. It’s free to visit and see the Upside-Down House and kid friendly with a museum and more exhibits to see. Nellie Bly