ISO100, 40mm, f/11, 0.6 sec

Rhyolite (NV), Union Pacific Boxcar, Door, Ladder

ISO100, 40mm, f/11, 0.6 sec
Rhyolite (NV), Union Pacific Boxcar, Door, Ladder


This lone railroad car once traveled on one of three competing railroad lines that serviced the ghost town of Rhyolite, just outside the eastern boundary of Death Valley.  The town was founded in 1904 and had between 8,000-12,000 residents at its peak before the financial crisis of 1907 reduced the population to less than 1,000 by 1908.

Now all that remains are the partial or crumbled shells of once grand buildings, a few wooden buildings scattered about, the glass bottle house constructed with discarded bottles from the town’s saloons, and a former train depot turned early 20th-century casino.

I would have liked to spend more time in Rhyolite than the couple of hours doggie co-pilot and I did.  Yet, I knew of the incoming storm from the north would result in heavy overnight wind gusts which would likely make for an uncomfortable night in the car.  I was also expecting there to what seem to be residents living near or within this ghost town on BLM land.  So we had a bit of lunch – chilled tri-tip leftovers for me and shredded chicken for the pup, before I spent the rest of the time photographing this railroad car and the remains of the town’s buildings located on the main road.

Location Notes: Though the rail lines were pulled up to be used as material for the war effort, the grade can still be driven into the nearby hills and presumably out to the nearby town of Beatty.  I also stumbed across a 1942 issue of Desert Magazine that describes the presence of lavender-color amethyst crystals that could be found at the ore dump of the nearby Bullfrog mine (see article, pg. 17).  If I had known about the amethyst crystals, it would have been worth a look see.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 40mm, f/11, 0.6 sec

Rhyolite (NV), Union Pacific Boxcar, Door, Ladder.  Rhyolite, NV. November 26, 2016. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


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