There is always a uncertainty of outcome in life. Rhyolite used to be the third largest town in Nevada during the early 1900s. The gold rush settlement grew from a two-man camp in January 1905 to a town of 1,200 in two weeks, and reached a population of 2,500 by June. If you read through old newspaper articles of the Rhyolite Herald, you get a feeling of its glory days. Thousand of gold-seekers, developers and miners were attracted by the prospecting discover. While mining had rewards for some, for many others the desert only brought frustration.
During its peak between 1905-1911, Rhyolite boomed with a population 6,000 to 8,000. In 1906, industrialist Charles M. Schwab bought the Montgomery-Shoshone Mine. He invested heavily in the infrastructure of the town. Water pipes, electric, telephone and telegraph lines as well as a railroad was built. Three banks and a stock exchange opened. 50 saloons with 35 gambling tables lined the streets and prostitution flourished. The town had19 lodging houses, 18 stores, 16 restaurants, two churches, a hospital, police station, fire department, post office, school, opera and public bath house.
The three-story high John S. Cook and Co. Bank was a statement in Rhyolite. The most prominent building had Italian marble stairs and imported stained-glass windows. The building cost more than $90,000 with all its luxuries. But soon the richest gold ore was exhausted and production fell. The financial panic of 1907 was the beginning of the end for the town. In the next few years mines started closing and banks failed. The population dropped below 1000. The last train left Rhyolite in 1914. The power company tuned off the electricity and removed its lines two years later. In 1924, the last resident passed away - the population was zero.