The Porter Brothers store is a ruined storefront on the main street in the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nye County, Nevada. The Porter Brothers were like many other merchants, following and chasing the latest news of gold strikes and boom towns. The Porter Brothers built their building in 1906 at a cost of $10,000 and it close four years later, in 1910.
Like many merchants of the time, the Porter Brothers, Hiram and Lyman, moved from mining camp to mining camp, following reports of booms and strikes.
In 1902, the opened a painting business in San Francisco. Following the rich gold strikes in southern California, they opened mercantiles in Johannesburg, Ballarat (near Death Valley), Beatty, and, or course, Rhyolite.
Originally, the brothers bought lot on Main Street in 1905 and operated out of a canvas tent, but they soon ran out of room. They then bought a second lot on Golden Street, next of many of Rhyolites important commercial buildings.
Construction of their new building began in 1906. It used local stone and took four months at a cost of $10,000.
Before moving their operations from Main to Golden, they threw a huge three-day sale and held a public date, complete with an orchestra, in the new finished Golden Street building.
The Porter Brothers Store was very popular. In 1906, it was the go-to destination for Christmas shopping. This was due to its amazing displays that rivalled those of the major cities. In fact, the store was the largest employer in Rhyolite aside from the mines.
Unfortunately, even the popular store was not immune to the downturn that would decimate Rhyolite’s businesses; it closed in 1910. Hiram, however, would stay in Rhyolite another nine years, serving as the town’s postmaster until the post office closed on September 15, 1919.BLM Plaque – Rhyolite, Nevada