Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Born: Two prospectors found gold in an outcropping at Buck's Springs, just east of Death Valley, in August 1904. Soon there were mining camps scattered among the hills, and one of the camps, Rhyolite, grew faster than the others. By 1907, it was a thriving mining town with a population estimated to be as high as 5,000. The town had a railroad station, a three-story bank building and a two-floor schoolhouse, plus the "Bottle House" made from 50,000 beer and whiskey bottles.
Died: The gold mines weren't as lucrative as assayers had originally hoped they would be. The biggest mine was closed in 1911. The power company cut off electricity in 1916. With little economic activity to sustain the town, residents moved away. The last resident died in 1924.
It lives on: The Bureau of Land Management administers the land as Rhyolite Historic Townsite. The bureau put a new roof on the Bottle House and repaired the porch and walls a few years ago. The bureau would like to convert the old railroad depot into an interpretive center. The ruins of the Cook Bank Building were shot in the 2005 movie "The Island."