On our drive back from exploring abandoned Goldfield, we made a quick detour to the ghost town of Rhyolite just on the eastern edge of Death Valley National Park. Rhyolite is about a 10 minute drive from the town of Beatty, Nevada, which seems to serve as a gassing up point for those heading to or from Las Vegas.
We too, were on our way back to Las Vegas, and were actually hoping to get to our hotel resort for some kayaking on Lake Las Vegas but our nerdy-side won out and we couldn’t pass up on seeing the Rhyolite historical site.
A caboose formerly used as a gas station.
Rhyolite started in January of 1905 as a two-man camp. By June later that year, Rhyolite had grown to encompass 50 saloons, 19 lodging houses, 16 restaurants, 6 barbers, a public bath house, and a weekly newspaper. By 1907, it could boast of concrete sidewalks, electricity, and telephone lines. It was not too long after, however, that ore production declined. By 1910 there were only 675 residents. By 1916, the power was cut and the electricity lines were removed. In 1922, only one resident remained, a 92-year-old man who died in 1924.
Former train station.
Many of the remaining buildings of Rhyolite were sourced as building materials for the town of Beatty.
John S. Cook & Co. Bank building was once four stories. The second floor served as Dr. Jewett’s Office, the third floor was used by various brokerages, and the basement was the Rhyolite Post Office.
The off-roading chauffeur! 😉
Overbury building and Bishop Jewely Store.
HD & LD Porter Mercantile, founded by the Porter Brothers who arrived from Randsburg, California (now also a ghost town). Their slogan was, “We handle all good things but whiskey.”
The remains of Rhyolite’s two-story, eight-room school building.
If you couldn’t tell from the bars over the windows, this building served as the town jail.
Next to the Rhyolite Ghost Town is the Goldwell Open Air Museum. We didn’t stay long to ponder the art but there were quite a few odd sculptures. Details about them, including a giant naked lady that was clearly designed by a man, can be found at the Goldwell Open Air Museum website.
The Last Supper sculpture by Albert Szukalski.
Rhyolite Ghost Town Overview
- Coordinates: 36.903889, -116.829167
- Fees: FREE
- Difficulty: Easy dirt road
- Usage: Moderate
- Pets allowed: Yes