Ghost Towns: Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite is a ghost town in Nye County, Nevada. It is located in the Bullfrog Hills, near the eastern edge of Death Valley. Founded in 1904 as a miner camp, the town boasted a population between 3500 and 5000 in 1907-08. Rapid growth and generous investments in infrastructure brought electricity, piped water, telephones, newspapers, banks, regular railroad service, a hospital, a school, and even an opera house. However, a heavy dependence on mining industry led to an almost equally rapid decline. Once the ore was exhausted (1910-11), the population dropped to fewer than 1000 people. By 1920, the town was almost fully abandoned. The last resident died in 1924.

Rhyolite became a popular tourist attraction and movie set. It is one of the most photographed ghost towns in the USA.

Today, it is hard to envision the town’s former glory. Most of its infrastructure was used for building materials in nearby towns and mining camps. Some of its buildings were moved as a whole to nearby Beatty: The Rhyolite’s Miners’ Union Hall became the Old Town Hall. Cabins were reassembled as homes. The only buildings that still stand are the Bottle House and the railroad depot. The Cook Bank Building and the school turned into picturesque ruins.

 

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