The wind was cold with the whispers of forgotten ghosts. We put on our Jackets to fight the chill; Bone found a horseshoe for good luck. We had made a detour to visit the old Ghost Town of Rhyolite on the way into Death Valley National Park from the small town of Beatty in Nevada.
Gold was discovered in the area in 1904. A boomtown sprang out of the desolate desert. Soon there was a school, a bank and even an opera house. The sound of “batter up” could be heard on weekend days and arias on weekend nights. Women flowed in from San Francisco to accommodate the town’s red light district.
There was even an ice cream parlor and a house made from 50,000 beer and liquor bottles, which says something about the quantity of liquor consumed in town.
In 1907, electricity came to Rhyolite. It was the same year a financial crisis announced the beginning of the end for the town. Mines started to close, banks failed, and the newspaper went out of business. The lights were shut off in 1916. The boom was over.
A few skeletons of buildings and the bottle house are all that remain today. If you are in the neighborhood be sure to stop by. The ghosts will appreciate your visit. There is also a fascinating sculpture garden located next to Rhyolite that I will blog about next in my National Park/Death Valley series.