Rhyolite is located 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Las Vegas. It was a mining town through and through. The Nevada gold rush of 1904-1907 was centered in three towns; Goldfield, Tonopah, and Rhyolite. All located along highway 95 (that still goes by the nickname “the loneliest highway in the world”.) Rhyolite’s short-lived prosperity ended permanently when its mines played out in 1909.
At the most Rhyolite had a population of 10 000. In 1907 they had electricity, when electricity still was a very rare commodity. The mining in Rhyolite was sponsored by prospectors from the East Coast. The whole town was dependent on their contributions. They had a bank, a casino, two schools, 50 (!) bars, a train station, and a general store among many other facilities, and homes. In 1907, shortly after getting electricity to town, the financial panic reach these parts of the world as well, and businesses started to shut down. In 1916 the light and power company shut down the power, and people started to leave town.
Rumor says someone lived in this train car.
Rhyolite is one of the most well preserved ghost towns in Nevada, and worth a visit. The history, location (just outside Death Valley,) along with how well preserved it is makes this a great day trip, if you are visiting Las Vegas, or a fabulous stop on the way to Death Valley. The winters here are mild, the summers can be hot. It is possible to visit all year round. There is a free museum open to the public, it’s located right next to the art installation of The Last Supper, by Albert Szukalski, on the left side as you enter Rhyolite.
Beautiful mosaic bench, next to the museum, on the left side as you enter town.
I really enjoyed our visit to Rhyolite. Thanks for coming with me! If you enjoyed these ghost town posts, feel free to share them!