A couple prospectors by the names of
Shorty Harris and E. L. Cross searched the harsh southwest land in
search of their fortunes. Forty years after Nevada was admitted as a
State, October 31, 1864, the land of the southwest was rich with
minerals and sparsely populated. In 1904, the two prospectors discovered
a small hill containing quartz with gold streaks throughout.
When Shorty Harris and E. L. Cross
found this legendary gold field, unfortunately not many people resided
in that area to help celebrate. In fact, the only person in the nearby
area was an elderly man living five miles away with his family by the
name of Beatty, the same man after whom today’s Beatty, Nevada is
Seemed like overnight, thousands of
people from hundreds and even thousands of miles away had heard of the
gold strike and had migrated to Rhyolite area. Rhyolite is named after
the silica-rich volcanic rock in the area. Now the gold rush was in full
strides. Nearby several mining camps were set up including Bullfrog,
Jumpertown and Amargosa.
Within months, miners had established
more than 2000 mining claims covering everything in a 30-mile area. The
miners were hard at work trying to strike it rich. Probably the most
promising mine was the Montgomery Shoshone mine, this caused everyone to
move to the new Rhyolite town site
In 1906 marked the grand opening of
the celebrated Alaska Glacier Ice Cream Parlor by Countess Morajeski.
This addition to the parched land of Nevada was a huge success. That
same year Tom T. Kelly, an enterprising miner, constructed the famous
Bottle House. The Bottle House was built from 50,000 beer and liquor
bottles. Paramount pictures in January 1925 restored the Bottle House.
The nationally known Montgomery
Shoshone mine was the landmark of the Rhyolite area. Owner, of the
Montgomery Shoshone mine, Bob Montgomery was brought into the light of
United States investing when in 1906 he sold his legendary mining
operation to Charles Schwab, for approximately 4 million dollars.
In 1907 the thriving town of Rhyolite
Nevada was a city of 12,000 inhabitants. Today a Ghost town, Rhyolite
once had a full telephone service, school with 250 student, several
saloons, water companies, stock exchange and Board of Trade, an ice
plant, miners union hospital, hundreds of homes, electric street lights,
and an opera house. Keeping with the wild west, Rhyolite even had
a red light district.
Within four years of the peak of
Rhyolite’s prosperity, 1910 saw the mining operation slowing to an
output of only $246,661 and there were only 611 residents in the town.
On March 14, 1911, the directors of
the Montgomery Shoshone mine voted to close down the mining and milling
operations. Five years later, 1916, they turned out the lights
literally, the power and light company closed.
Today only a few brick building fronts
remain, The Bottle House and the train depot are the only complete
buildings still surviving. Rhyolite and nearby ghost town Bullfrog are
found approximately five miles near the present day city of Beatty,
Nevada. Beatty Nevada is also famous for the local hot springs that
average a water temperature of about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and the
springs are open year-round.
4 miles west of Beatty on NV 374.
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