We set out in the morning and made the short drive to Rhyolite. We even passed a wild burro on the way. He was not interested in posing for a picture.
In about 10 minutes, we arrived in Rhyolite.
Rhyolite was started with just a few miners’ tents in 1905. By 1907, it was a city of 3500. Many mining towns grew just as fast or maybe faster but what makes Rhyolite remarkable is how quickly and completely it collapsed. In 1909, most businesses had been abandoned and a mass exodus of residents followed over the next 3 years. By 1920 only 14 people remained.
These days, rattlesnakes outnumber people. There are a few caretaker residences in the town. If you visit, heed the warning signs. There are definitely rattlesnakes in the area. This one was more interested in taking a snooze in the shade than bothering me.
The Las Vegas Tonapah Depot is one of the most complete structures on the property. Due to poor structural integrity, you can not enter the building and an unsightly fence surrounds the building. On this day, the gate was open, so we were able to walk around the building. It was considered the grandest depot in all of Nevada. Due to construction delays, it was one of the last buildings finished in the town in 1908.
The Cook Bank was one of four banks that operated in the town of Rhyolite and was the largest building in the town. More of the building would probably have survived today except that the supports were taken when the town was abandoned.
The other remaining bank ruins are the Overbury building ruins. It is fascinating how well the vault areas have held up in these structures.
Another large structure that is still partially standing is the Rhyolite School building. Unfortunately, the school wasn’t finished till 1909, well after the downfall of the town began. The school opened with a huge debt and and the school bonds were not paid off until 1978 by the residents of Beatty.
A short distance from the main town site, is the Bullfrog-Rhyolite Cemetery. It is certainly a peaceful final resting place in the desert for the souls who lived in Rhyolite.