Art and a Ghost Town in the Nevada Desert

A few miles from the northeast corner of Death Valley National Park, near the city of Beatty, Nevada lays the ghost town of Rhyolite. This was a gold mining town in the late 1800’s. In its heyday in 1906 there were over 8000 residents in Rhyolite. The town boasted two banks, two schools and a train station that doubled as a casino. Rumor has it that there was even a brothel. However, around 1908 the gold was almost mined out and by 1920 there were only 14 residents left in the town.

Today, there is very little left to suggest a town of that size. Any wooden structures have been removed by the elements and vandals. The stone skeletons of some of the larger buildings bear testament to a grander time in the Nevada desert. Old street signs have survived, even though the streets they used to mark have been overtaken by the desert. The remaining buildings are close together and easy to walk around. However this is a very hot, very dry climate, so having a bottle of water handy is a good idea for this sightseeing excursion.

Near the remains of Rhyolite is a modern art installation. The Goldwell Open Air Museum features several pieces that are free to walk around and admire. These include a ghostly rendition of the Last Supper, a couch covered with mosaic tiles, and a large cement block sculpture of a kneeling woman. The juxtaposition of modern art and old ruins make an already strange landscape even stranger

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