Rhyolite Ghost Town, NV
Begin day 2 by heading back to Rhyolite for a daytime look at the abandoned town. My first stop was at the Venus of Nevada.
This concrete creation stands more than two stories tall. A dry wash separates it from the other artwork, but there's a dirt road that will take you around to it.
Once you've seen, pondered, and tried to appreciate all the funky artwork on the outskirts of Rhyolite, head on into the town. Your first stop should be at the historic Bottle House. One of the town's caretakers will likely be here to answer any questions. You can also sign in and pick up some interpretive literature.
The bottle house was built in the early 1900's by a man named Tom Kelly. He used approximately 30,000 bottles, most of which once contained beer. You can still see the manufacturer's stamp on the bottom of most of the bottles.
During my visit in April, 2005, the interior of the bottle house was off limits, however, you could look inside through open doors. Rhyolitesite.com reports that the bottle house will soon undergo a careful remodeling, that may one day allow it to be opened to visitors again.
Another building you're not allowed to enter is the Rhyolite Mercantile. You'll find it right next to the Bottle House.
Continue on through the town and you'll come to a structure that still looks sturdy, compared to the rest of its neighbors. The Rhyolite Public School was completed in 1909, to hold the town's booming population of schoolchildren.
The two story structure has some great windows that frame scenic views of the hills around town.
The old school also has a small basement. It's probably the one dangerous place in the building, since as you can see, the floorboards are crumbling.
Side roads branch off from the main street through Rhyolite, allowing you to drive around and explore some of the smaller structures that are still intact, like this house.
Back on the main road, all that remains of the Porter Brothers store is its large storefront, and the foundation. The store's basement was big enough for the town's residents to hold dances and other social events.
At the end of the pavement, overlooking the rest of the town, is the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad Depot. The grand old structure is fenced off, so you can't experience it up close.
The train depot was completed in 1909, at a cost of $130,000 (that's more than $2.6 Million dollars in today's money). There are restoration plans in the works, but for now, you'll have to gaze through the chain link fence.
You'll find other relics nearby, including an old caboose and signal.
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An anonymous visitor writes: I took my family to see Rhyolite today (March 2011), it was a great trip. Outside the fence blocking off the bottle house I met Mr Thompson (great gentleman who lived in the house-years ago). The mercantile bldg pictured on your site has been lifted and he said the gov't is removing it b/c it is not "original". Doesn't the gov't have better things to do w/ my tax $$? How can we make them leave it alone?
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