After a late start out of Las Vegas on our second day of vacation, Sue and I traveled west on NV 160 to Pahrump and Death Valley Junction. Death Valley Jct. had been a spot on the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad and the junction with the Death Valley Railroad. About the only thing there now is the Amargosa Opera House, formerly the Amargosa Hotel operated by Pacific Coast Borax. Had I read a few more chapters in my book Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, The Nevada Short Line by Phil Serpico I might have lingered longer. But we wanted to reach Death Valley National Park and Furnace Creek to check out the overnight accommodations.
The drive this day was breathtaking. Hey Easterners, it’s another world! Long distances of isolation, remoteness, and fascination. We checked the price for a room at Furnace Creek (NPS park headquarters, etc.). $309 was a bit steep for us hillbillies, so we headed for Beatty NV. We stayed at Motel 6 and ate at Denny’s...much more reasonable!
1. Beatty NV brochure. Page 1. Click here for a larger image.
2. Beatty NV brochure. Page 2. Click here for a larger image.
3. Saturday morning we stopped in one of the local places for breakfast. Good eats and plenty of it! She kept the coffee cup filled. That’s Sue by the rental car. Mel's Diner Beatty NV.
Beatty was a rail center with the Las Vegas & Tonopah RR, Bullfrog Goldfield RR, and Tonopah & Tidewater RR all poking into the area. Notice on the brochure that the county seat is at Tonopah...93 miles away. Bet your county isn’t that large!
4. Abandoned Las Vegas & Tonopah (LV&T) grade climbing west out of Beatty. You can drive it to Rhyolite, but we didn’t to do it in a rental car.
5. The LV&T grade is climbing steeply to the right of NV 374 leaving Beatty. Yes, those are two wild burros. They can pose as much of a problem to motorists there as deer do in the east. They are descendants of those that worked around the mines in the century past.
6. Lone burro near Beatty NV.
7. LV&T grade and burro Beatty NV. View 2.
8. LV&T abandoned grade heading up to Doris-Montgomery Pass between Beatty and Rhyolite. It was getting close to 10:00 a.m., so we headed back down the hill to the Beatty Museum. View 2.
9. Beatty NV Museum brochure. Page 1. Click here for a larger image.
10. Beatty NV Museum brochure. Page 2. Click here for a larger image.
I spent about an hour in there, and Sue bought some items. It was good visit, and they had plenty to see.
11. NV 374 looking west. Turn right at the bottom of the grade to Rhyolite. The boundary of Death Valley National Park is about half way, and the California state line is close to the end.
12. From NV 374, the LV&T descending the pass toward Rhyolite.
13. Heading up the road into Rhyolite we see the grade climbing west of the town. The rock dumps are presumably from the Gibraltar and Tramps Mines. LV&T grade Rhyolite NV. View 2.
14. The abandoned school, Cook Bank, Overbury Bldg., and LV&T depot. Rhyolite NV in the distance.
15. Charles Schwab was Andrew Carnegie’s “man” who was the go-between for the massive United States Steel merger. After being fired by USS’s board, Schwab went on to make Bethlehem Steel the second largest in America. Historic marker Rhyolite NV. Click here for a larger image.
16. Rhyolite historic town site sign.
17. Rhyolite brochure. Page 1.
18. Rhyolite brochure. Page 2.
19. Rhyolite brochure. Page 3.
20. Rhyolite brochure & map. Page 4.
21. Ruins of the Cook Bank building. Rhyolite NV.
22. This San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake (ex-UP) caboose was brought to Rhyolite to serve as a gas station after the LV&T had been ripped out.
23. Street side of the beautiful LV&T depot. It awaits restoration. It only served trains from 1906 until 1918. It was a casino and restaurant after that. Rhyolite NV.
24. LV&T depot. Rhyolite NV. View 2.
25. Track side of the depot. An old train order signal was laying behind the fence. LV&T depot. Rhyolite NV.
26. German manufactured mine rail. Rhyolite NV.
27. View from the LV&T depot looking down the hill at the ruins of the buildings. Death Valley would be across the Funeral Mountains in the distance. Abandoned buildings. Rhyolite NV.
28. From the LV&T grade approaching Rhyolite from the east, we can see the ruins and depot. The grade continues up around the mountain past the two mining sites.
29. The Tom Kelly bottle house. Talk about some vintage beer bottles!!! Rhyolite NV.
30. Entrance to the Goodwell Open Air Art Museum with sculptures. The LV&T grade and Tramps and Gibraltar Mine sites are in the background.
31. Sue is amazed at the open air art sculptures. I bought a couple of books at the gift shop to the left. Time to head for Death Valley.
32. The Cook Bank building at night. This area is very arid, so lightning would be very rare, I would think.
Discovering The Ghost Railroads Of Central Nevada by James N. Price. This softcover 48-page book is a must if you want to explore the Tonopah, Goldfield, Rhyolite and Beatty areas. Published by the Central Nevada Historical Society, P.O. Box 326, Tonopah NV 89049 in 2015. I got my copy at the Beatty Museum.
Rhyolite The Boom Years by Alan H. Patera. 62-page softcover published by Western Places, P.O. Box 2093, Lake Oswego OR 97035 in 2011.
Rebecca’s Walk Through Time, A Rhyolite Story by Suzy McCoy. 97-page softcover published by Small Town Publishing Co., P.O. Box 27, Beatty NV 89003 in 2003.
Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, vol. 2 by David F. Myrick. Hardcover published by Howell-North Books, Berkeley CA in 1963. This has been reprinted and is available.
The Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad by Phil Serpico. 160-page hardcover published by Omni Publications, Palmdale CA 93590-0566 in 2017. The book on the railroad and area mining.
Tonopah & Tidewater, The Nevada Short Line by Phil Serpico. 296-page hardcover also by Omni Publications in 2013. The T&T, Death Valley Railroad and the Death Valley region.
Images of Rail – Railroads Of Death Valley by Robert P. Palazzo. 127-page softcover published by Arcadia Publishing in 2011. Covers the Death Valley RR, Tonopah & Tidewater RR, Carson & Colorado and SP, Bullfrog Goldfield RR, LV&T, Tonopah & Goldfield RR and others.
We headed over the mountain into Death Valley.