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James is obsessed with old abandoned things.
Me, I think they’re pretty cool, too, but James? When we come across a crumbling structure, an old abandoned road to nowhere, or anything deserted and in disrepair; I can guarantee we won’t be going anywhere for awhile.
Since we were hanging at Death Valley National Park, we happily added a detour to Rhyolite Ghost Town in our Binder of Fun. Sure, biking in Death Valley to the lowest point in the US was a cool experience, but seeing the ghost town?! Even cooler.
Rhyolite Ghost Town in Nevada, 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, has been on our radar for years. It’s one of the best preserved ghost towns in the US, so there are tons of dilapidated things to investigate.
The town was started around 1905 as gold was discovered in the area, and exploded to around 5,000-8,000 people in just a year or two. Not all that old if you think about it.
That especially struck me, because back when I was 20 (you know, 9 years ago) and living in a small town in southeastern Minnesota, I bought a house that was built in the 1890’s. Don’t be too impressed; it was all of $30,000 and was cheaper than renting. I slowly remodeled it, and it’s still lived in today and as cute as ever. So, when I learned the crumbling structures around me at Rhyolite were YOUNGER than my first house, I became equally as fascinated with the quick rise and fall of this town as James was.
A nutshell history of Rhyolite:
It started as a two-man camp in January 1905. After the gold discovery, Rhyolite had 1,200 people in two weeks! The town boomed over the next two years, and just like that Rhyolite had 50 saloons, 35 gambling tables, cribs for prostitution, 19 lodging houses, 16 restaurants, half a dozen barbers, a public bath house, and a weekly newspaper, the Rhyolite Herald. Four daily stage coaches ran in and out of Rhyolite.