Rhyolite Train Depot

The town of Rhyolite boasted three train services using the Rhyolite Train Depot which is completed in June, 1908. The depot services the Las Vegas & Tonopah, the Tonopah & Tidewater and the Bullfrog-Goldfield train services. The Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad started its push to Rhyolite by laying one mile of track per day. Later, the railroad redoubled its efforts and pushed two miles per day its its bid to connect the booming two of Rhyolite with the outside world.

Rhyolite Train Depot is located at the north end of town in Rhyolite, Nye County, Nevada.  - Photo by James L Rathbun
Rhyolite Train Depot is located at the north end of town in Rhyolite, Nye County, Nevada. – Photo by James L Rathbun

The first train entered Rhyolite at 7:00 pm on December 14th, 1906 bringing another 100 people into the town. Train service to the booming mining town was a big deal. The fact that Rhyolite could lure three train services all but ensured the future of the largest mining town in the state.

In 1907, the Las Vegas & Tidewater line alone hauled 50 freight cars per day into Rhyolite. This volume required a large depot to handle the load. In September 1907, the construction of the depot started by the Las Vegas & Tidewater Railroad. The Mission Revival styled building in constructed with concrete blocks built upon a solid concrete foundation. A gentlemen’s waiting area is located in the east end and a separate ladies waiting room is located in the west end. The ticket office is located in the center of the building and the ticket agents office is located on the second floor.

The train depot takes up an entire city block on Golden Street. The cost on construction was $130,000, or about $3.8 million in 2021.

The train depot in Rhyolite is complete in June 1908. The timing of the complete is ironic in that it coincided with the beginning on the decline of Rhyolite. Within months of completion of the depot, more people were leaving town using the station than arriving. In the first year of operation, the railroad generated a small profit. Between 1909 and 1919 the railroads lost money each year. By 1919, the railroads cut their losses and salvaged the tracks for other projects.

Rhyolite Ghost Casino

The 1920’s offered a brief revival to the town on Rhyolite. Wes Moreland purchase the train depot in 1935 and opened the Rhyolite Ghost Casino in 1937. Drinking and gambling are available on the first floor. The second floor operates as a brothel. The star of World Ware 2 halts the brief rebirth of Rhyolite. The fuel rationing almost completely drained the economy in the area.

In the 1960’s Moreland sister inherited the train depot. Mrs. Herschel Heiser operated a museum and gift shop out of the old station.

At the time it was built, the train depit is claimed to be “The finest in the state.” Today, the train station is one of the best preserved.

Rhyolite Trail Depot Map

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