Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; Nevada State Route 374 to Rhyolite and Hell's Gate

Back in the winter of 2016 I was heading through southern Nevada towards Death Valley National Park.  In Beatty I pulled off of US Route 95 onto Nevada State Route 374 to approach Death Valley National Park via the ghost town of Rhyolite through Hell's Gate.






NV 374 is a short 8.8 mile state highway located in Nye County between US 95 in Beatty west along the Bullfrog Hills near the ghost town of Rhyolite to the boundary of Death Valley National Park.  The implied routing of NV 374 continues over the California State Line into the Funeral Mountains where it becomes Daylight Pass Road.  Day Light Pass Road continues through Hell's Gate in Death Valley National Park to CA 190. 

NV 374 originally signed as NV 58 prior to the 1976 State Highway Renumbering.  NV 58 in it's original form can be viewed on this 1956 Nevada State Highway Map.

1956 State Highway Map

A couple miles west of Beatty NV 374 intersects Rhyolite Road which continues north into the Bullfrog Hills where the ghost town Rhyolite is located.




Rhyolite was founded in 1905 due to gold claims being discovered in the Bullfrog Hills.  The largest producer in Rhyolite was the Montgomery Shoshone Mine which invested heavily into the infrastructure of the community.  Most of the current structures and ruins in Rhyolite were largely built or paid for by the Montgomerey Shoshone Mine.  Rhyolite reached it's peak population of approximately 5,000 by 1908.

The end for Rhyolite started when the Montgomery Shoshone Mine had an independent contractor evaluate the quality of the ore being mine.  The ore in Rhyolite ended up being far below the quality that was originally accessed which led to a mining bust.  By 1910 the population of Rhyolite declined to about 1,000 residents and by 1919 it had declined so much that the power grid was shut off.  By 1920 Rhyolite was completely abandoned.

The Rhyolite Rail Depot remained the only operating structure in Rhyolite from the 1937 when it reopened as a casino until the 1970s when it shuttered.








Mining resumed in Rhyolite in 1988 when an open pit facility began operation which lasted until 1998.  Rhyolite is more known for being the setting of several science fiction movies such as Cherry 2000 and the Island.  The 1909 Cooke Bank Building in particular might be recognizable to a casual movie viewer.  For what its worth the Cooke Bank Building does have a surreal feel to it with the bleached concrete structure still standing around a long decayed interior.









The former mining area of Rhyolite is easily viewed east of town.





Various debris of the former mining community are strewn all over Rhyolite.



The marque is still apparent on the Porter Building.






The Overbury Bank still partially stands, the vault reminds intact.








I'm not sure what this structure was but the first floor was largely intact.


The Miner's Union Hall is marked but essentially completely crumbled.





This glass bottle house apparently was constructed from debris found in Rhyolite.





Heading west from Rhyolite I reached the terminus of NV 374 and entered Death Valley National Park.  Upon reaching California I crossed Daylight Pass to Hell's Gate.  Death Valley and Badwater Basin were clearly visible to the south.  There was an unusual level of activity in Death Valley due to a winter "super bloom" which can be seen if you can spot the yellow flowers in the picture below.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways: The Unbuilt New Orleans Bypass (Proposed I-410)

  There are many examples around the United States of proposed freeway corridors in urban areas that never saw the light of day for one reason or another. They all fall somewhere in between the little-known and the infamous and from the mundane to the spectacular. One of the more obscure and interesting examples of such a project is the short-lived idea to construct a southern beltway for the New Orleans metropolitan area in the 1960s and 70s. Greater New Orleans and its surrounding area grew rapidly in the years after World War II, as suburban sprawl encroached on the historically rural downriver parishes around the city. In response to the development of the region’s Westbank and the emergence of communities in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes as viable suburban communities during this period, regional planners began to consider concepts for new infrastructure projects to serve this growing population.  The idea for a circular freeway around the southern perimeter of t

Hernando de Soto Bridge (Memphis, TN)

The newest of the bridges that span the lower Mississippi River at Memphis, the Hernando de Soto Bridge was completed in 1973 and carries Interstate 40 between downtown Memphis and West Memphis, AR. The bridge’s signature M-shaped superstructure makes it an instantly recognizable landmark in the city and one of the most visually unique bridges on the Mississippi River. As early as 1953, Memphis city planners recommended the construction of a second highway bridge across the Mississippi River to connect the city with West Memphis, AR. The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge had been completed only four years earlier a couple miles downriver from downtown, however it was expected that long-term growth in the metro area would warrant the construction of an additional bridge, the fourth crossing of the Mississippi River to be built at Memphis, in the not-too-distant future. Unlike the previous three Mississippi River bridges to be built the city, the location chosen for this bridge was about two

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (Memphis, TN)

  Like the expansion of the railroads the previous century, the modernization of the country’s highway infrastructure in the early and mid 20th Century required the construction of new landmark bridges along the lower Mississippi River (and nation-wide for that matter) that would facilitate the expected growth in overall traffic demand in ensuing decades. While this new movement had been anticipated to some extent in the Memphis area with the design of the Harahan Bridge, neither it nor its neighbor the older Frisco Bridge were capable of accommodating the sharp rise in the popularity and demand of the automobile as a mode of cross-river transportation during the Great Depression. As was the case 30 years prior, the solution in the 1940s was to construct a new bridge in the same general location as its predecessors, only this time the bridge would be the first built exclusively for vehicle traffic. This bridge, the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, was completed in 1949 and was the third