Demise of Rhyolite, Nevada
We know that some wealthy and famous people trod these streets and explored these hills. Nevada
Senator William Stewart made Bullfrog his home. Charles Schwab came in a chauffeur driven limousine to see his
holdings. Death Valley Scotty came to look around, and have a drink. And, in the hills, a few miles away, Shorty
Harris and Ed Cross found their bonanza. But...
By May of 1910, there were no street lights, the water company had closed, and the banks were
gone. With the population down to below 1,000, the Porter Store had a final sale and closed its doors for good. In
March of 1911, the last mine and mill shut down and the final death notice for the largest city in southern Nevada
had been posted. Some stayed until they could not afford to transport their belongs. Thus, abandoning everything
when they left. Houses were left furnished and offices intact. In no time the abandoned buildings were stripped of
Some $3,000,000 worth of gold had been extracted from the mines. Tens of millions had been
extracted from speculators. But, when the ore pinched out, and the speculators' money quit coming it became quite
obvious that the Bullfrog strike had not been another Comstock, nor even another Goldfield. It was rags, to riches,
to rags, in few more than five years. The population dropped to 14 by 1920, to one by 1922, and the town became a
true ghost by 1924. The concrete and stone buildings remained, but, with few exceptions, the canvas, wood and adobe
structures were either hauled away or reverted to the desert dust.
Today you can find several remnants of Rhyolite’s glory days in the old ghost town. Some of the
walls of the three story John S Cook & Co. building, along with a few other building, remain standing. The Las
Vegas & Tonopah Railroad Depot and the Tom Kelly Bootle house are two of the few complete buildings left in the
Rhyolite was in trouble long before the Montgomery-Shoshone closed down. One thing, and one
thing only, had created this magic city: the promise of rich and abundant ore in the mountains that surrounded it.
Without the fulfilled promise, the city could not exist. From the beginning, production had been disappointing.
Remains of Rhyolite, Nevada in the 1920s.