Scenic USA - Nevada

Rhyolite Ghost Town

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Rhyolite Ghost Town Ruins, Nevada

Photos by Roger Gillette

   Unable to contain their excitement, Shorty Harrison and Earnest Cross attracted a large crowd when HD and LD Porter Store - Rhyolite, Nevadathey described their mining claim as "just full of free gold"! As word quickly spread of the Bullfrog claim, the gold rush was on ... and another Nevada mining town sprang to life. In 1904 the new town was promoted as Rhyolite, named for gold-laced silica-rich volcanic ore. Fueled by the rapid influx of hundreds of miners and entrepreneurs, the price of town building lots jumped from 50 to 1200 dollars in a matter of months. Located just outside of Death Valley, the town had no well water, driving the cost of water from two to as much as five dollars a barrel. Saloons, banks, restaurants, boarding houses, hotels, stage lines and supply depots were quickly constructed. Businessmen took full advantage of the frenzied real estate dealings, and mining stock shares were peddled from coast to coast. Over 2000 claims were issued in a short time. Like so many of these boom towns relying on mining profits, Rhyolite's frantic pace soon dwindled. By 1915, the town's population dwindled to 20 people and the following year, power to the "Queen City" was turned off.
   The town of Rhyolite, now an interesting ghost town, is partially governed by the Bureau of Land Rhyolite Schoolhouse - Rhyolite, Nevada Management. Hoping to restore some of the major buildings that remain, the BLM has fenced off some the most noteworthy structures. Here on Golden Street, ghost town fans will enjoy seeing what remains of the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad Depot, a roofless John S. Cook Bank building, and the facade of the Porter General Store. Rhyolite's two story school, built at a cost of 20,000 dollars in 1908, remains a roofless and windowless specter. Well weathered after its 100 years of existence, visitors may imagine a faint bustle of school children, similar to school days of yesteryear. With the hazy blue mountains off in the distance, it’s easy to guess that daydreaming would be one the first things on a student's mind.

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