Rhyolite, Nevada is one of my favorite ghost towns, so much so that when I'm even remotely in the area, I'll stop by to visit and take more pictures for my collection. There is something intangible about the place that lures visitors in from all over the world. Ghosts? Yes, there are ghosts in Rhyolite.
The town got its start back in 1904, when gold was discovered in the Bullfrog hills. Claims were staked, folks rushed in to get their share of the gold and several settlements sprang into existence. Rhyolite was the largest and longest lived. A lot of money was invested in the mines in the hills and in the property in town. Concrete sidewalks lined the streets, electric lights shone through the night. The town had everything. A fire department, police station, hospitals, schools, fraternal associations, good and bad sides of the tracks. Speculators speculated. Swindlers swindled. And all the other things one can imagine happening in a wild gold town happened.
And faster than a miner's pickax, once the gold played out and the frenzies calmed down, Rhyolite was a ghost. By 1910 only 675 residents remained. That same year, the last three banks in town closed. The post office kept posting until 1913; the last train left the station the following year. The power company turned off the electricity in 1916. By 1920, the census reported only 14 folks left in town. Buildings began to crumble, or were torn down for their materials to be used in other towns. The desert slowly reclaimed its property.
And while most of the original town is gone, there's still enough history left along the old dusty streets to make visiting Rhyolite a rewarding experience. It's generally still and quiet here in the desert, and walking amongst the ruins, you can't help but wonder what it was like back when the town was alive. It really must have been something amazing. Just look at that photo taken in 1909. All those buildings, businesses, homes. Pretty much all gone now, it amazes me how quickly things can change.
Below the break are some photos I've taken over the years. And there are likely to be more added in the future, as I know I'll be visiting Rhyolite again, to see what else I can find.