Establishment of Utilities
in Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite, Nevada had utilities just as any other city would. Telephone came rather quickly,
followed by a water system. Electricity was the last of the utilities to arrive, but it did in due time.
Gasoline-powered generators were put into use by the Rhyolite Light, Heat, and Power Company in
April, 1907 and supplied electricity to a small area of the town.
In January 1907 Nevada-California Power Company installed power poles and completed the electric
light plant in Rhyolite in April of same year. The power was generated at Bishop Creek and supplied to the
Rhyolite, Nevada residents and businesses by Nevada-California Power Company until 1916. At that time power was no
longer available in Rhyolite, Nevada.
Article from Ores and Metals, April 5, 1907 about power
being supplied to the Bullfrog District by the Nevada-California Power Company. Includes a photo of the Head
gate of the Nevada Power Company at Bishop, California.
Indian Springs Water Company
The Indian Springs Water Company, was the pioneer water company of the Bullfrog district,
organized early in 1905 and brought water to Rhyolite, Nevada June 26 of the same year. The company owned
practically all the water in the Indian Springs section, about five miles north of Rhyolite. It was estimated that
the flow was sufficient for a town with a population of 10,000 and a twenty-stamp mill. The water ran by gravity
from the source to Rhyolite. An analysis of the water made by the Dearborn Drug and Chemical company, showed the
entire absence of any injurious chemical or vegetable substances. There were no trace of borax or nitre so common
in water of the semi-arid regions. The company owned seventy-five blocks of street mains, and was in a position to
extend the system whenever occasion demanded.
R W Gorrill, the Oakland millionaire, owned the Gorrill block in Rhyolite and various other
interests in the Bullfrog district, was president of the company, and C L Milward was general manager. Mr. Gorrill
was among the pioneer investors in the camp, and always showed ultimate faith in its continued prosperity. The
offices of the company were in the Gorrill block on Golden street.
The Bullfrog Line
What was known as the Bullfrog water system got its product from Goss Springs, about twelve
miles up the Oasis Valley from Rhyolite, Nevada. This was wholly a gravity system, with a fall of 250 feet from the
head-gates to the standpipe of the company in Bullfrog. The system was built by the Bullfrog Townsite, Water and
Ice company, which H H Clark was chief promoter. Associated with Mr. Clark were Key Pittman, Bert L Smith, Humboldt
Gates and D G Doubleday. In the summer of 1906 the control of the company passed from the hands of these gentlemen
into those of the Bullfrog Reduction and Water company, represented by Malcolm MacDonald, meaning that Charles M
Schwab controlled the system.
It was said that the Bullfrog line was sold to Schwab on a basis of $150,000. The exact length
of the pipe line from Goss Springs to the company’s standpipe is eleven and five-eighths miles, embracing nine,
seven, six and four-inch mains. The pipe was steel riveted, and was brought by trains from Las Vegas in the spring
of 1905. The freight charges on this vast tonnage of pipe was $1.28 per 100 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and the
rate from the latter railroad point to Bullfrog was $3.50 per 100.
The line was finished and the water turned into the pipes on July 25, 1905. At 12:40 o’clock AM
on August 6, following, the first water gurgled out of the mains at Bullfrog and there was great rejoicing among
the natives, who, under the captaincy of Manager Frank P Kerns, were watching with candles and lamps for the
arrival of the welcome visitor. Manager Kerns said that 200,000 gallons ran through the pipes every twenty-four
hours and that it was possible to develop Goss Springs to the extent of another 200,000 gallons.
Bullfrog Water, Light and Power Company
In February, 1905, during the early days of the town of Rhyolite, Nevada a number of men of
clear judgment and foresight got together and organized the Bullfrog Water, Light and Power company. It was during
the days when there were only a few tents scattered about over the area that would become the townsite of Rhyolite,
Nevada, but these men foresaw the possibilities of the camp and immediately began to perfect plans for the pioneer
water company of the district. In May of the same year pumps, engines, pipe and equipment were purchased, and
active development work began in October, 1905.
The source of the company’s supply consisted of thirteen springs, flowing an aggregate amount of
about 1,000,000 gallons every twenty-four hours, a portion of which was distributed over the grounds of the
company, and the other pumped to the towns of Beatty and Rhyolite, to be used in these two towns for domestic,
mining and milling purposes. The main line consisted of about six miles of four and one-quarter main, with laterals
connecting the main streets of Rhyolite of two-inch and four and one-quarter inch. The springs were all developed
to the gravel, and water flowing through them into an eight-inch steel pipe passed through a filter before being
pumped to the two towns, thus insuring a good supply of clean, wholesome water. Beatty was supplied direct from the
main line, and Rhyolite got its supply from a 50,000-gallon steel tank located at Bonanza mountain, 200 feet above
the business portion of the town.
The officers of the company were: President and treasurer, L L Patrick; Vice president, Charles
F Potter; Secretary, E T Patrick; and General manager, W H Eddy.
Telephone service to Rhyolite, Nevada was completed in May 1905. In October 1918 Bullfrog
District Telephone Company was forced to discontinue telephone service in Beatty and Rhyolite, as there were only
two or three subscribers left who still took service.