Thursday, January 11, 2007
Part of today’s adventure was to visit a ghost town near Death Valley. Gold was discovered in 1904 and by 1908 the newly build town of Rhyolite had a population of 10,000. However, the mines began to fail at the peak of the building process. By 1910, the population was down to 675. By the time the town jail was completed, there was literally no one left to arrest.
After the mines failed and most of the population left, the following decades saw a large number of squatters occupy parts of the town buildings that were not removed by the miners as they moved on to the next gold rush town. They used and abused the property until it was left in total disrepair. The Bureau of Land management now manages the facility and has hopes of improving the site. There is a couple working as volunteers at the site to start the recovery process. The former caretaker had left a number of “art objects” outside the cottage where he lived. This building was constructed with 25,000 bottles that were left over from the apparently wild parties in the town. The other irony of the town remains is that the building that is most intact appears to be a building that was used by “the ladies of the evening”.