Las Vegas still seems pretty foreign to me in more ways than one. In particular, it strikes me as odd that it’s essentially in the middle of nowhere. This is so different from Missouri where you can drive across the state on I-70 and go from city to suburban sprawl to small town to suburbs and so forth until you’ve reached the other side of the state. It was the same way in central Texas: the suburbs of San Antonio gave way to the suburbs of Austin without any true middle-of-nowhere in between the two cities.
But drive northwest from Las Vegas on 95 and you’ll be out there surrounded by interminable desert. A little over two hours into the trip, you’ll find the small town of Beatty. And finally, a few minutes away, you’ll see a sign marking the entrance to the ghost town of Rhyolite.
The town of Rhyolite was laid out in 1905 and existed thanks to the mining industry. But by 1911, the mine had closed after production fell. From there, things deteriorated pretty quickly, and by 1924 it was official: Rhyolite was a ghost town.
One of the most note-worthy structures in Rhyolite is the house made of glass bottles. Built in 1905 by Tom Kelly, it has stood the test of time with the help of some restoration work in 1925 and 2005.
In addition to checking out the ghost town, you’ll also want to stop by the Goldwell Open Air Museum, which features seven large-scale sculptures set in the dramatic desert landscape. Stay tuned for more on that later this week.
If you plan on heading out to any of these sights, make sure to bring a map, lots of water, and some snacks. Enjoy!