Ever heard of Berlin, Nevada? How about Rhyolite?
Don’t feel bad that these interestingly named towns have managed to stay off your radar… they’re ghost towns that haven’t been lived in for decades.
After experiencing mining booms from the 1850s into the early 1900s, towns cropped up across the state as miners poured in looking to strike it rich. With the fickle nature of boom and bust industries, many of the towns that quickly popped up were also quick to be abandoned, leaving the silver state with about a hundred ghost towns peppered across its landscape. If you’re looking for some spooky spots to check out on your next trip to Nevada, these are some of the most interesting ghost towns the state has to offer:
A small mining town that never quite made it big, Berlin was established in 1897, but was mostly abandoned by 1911.
Berlin has several old wooden buildings still standing, including an ore mill, machine shop, and blacksmith shop, and some are even available for you to enter and look around.
Not just the site of an abandoned mining town, 40 fossilized ichthyosaur skeletons were found in the area between 1928 and the 1960s. Now designated as a Natural National Landmark, you can see these fossils on display in a museum just a few minutes drive from the abandoned town.
When gold was discovered in the Bullfrog Hills area in 1904, mining settlements cropped up all around it.
With a population that quickly climbed into the thousands, Rhyolite was built on the false hope that there was a huge payload in the hills. Among the buildings that went up in the short time Rhyolite was booming were more than 50 saloons, and the overwhelming number of beer bottles available led to the building of a bottle house that still stands today.
Rhyolite is one of the most photographed ghost towns for a reason. In addition to the bottle house, it’s home to the Goldwell Open Air Museum, an outdoor sculpture park that’s free to visit, and features both an eerie permanent collection and artist residencies.
A silver strike in the 1860s was responsible for the establishment of Belmont, Nevada.
By the following decade Belmont was considered a major mining town, and some estimated the population to be as high as 15,000. But like the state’s other ghost towns, the town was mostly dried up by 1905.
In Belmont’s more recent history lies a potential tie to serial killer Charles Manson. A piece of graffiti etched into a doorframe in the Belmont courthouse reads “Charlie Manson + Family 1969”…but could it be real? There’s no concrete proof that the infamous Manson was ever in Belmont, but there is one legendary eye witness account. According to the story, among a few straggling residents in Belmont in the 1960s was a woman named Rose Walter, who says she met a group of young visitors who were trying to camp in the Belmont courthouse. Months later, Rose saw pictures of the Manson family on TV, and realized that she had come across them at the Belmont courthouse. Whether or not the story is true, the creepy Manson graffiti makes Belmont one of the state’s most notable ghost towns.
While not all Nevada ghost towns offer museums or buildings that can be explored inside, the state is home to enough of these spooky spots to satisfy anyone’s curiosity. Next time you’re driving through the state, make time for a detour to check out the abandoned remains of a Nevada boomtown and the ghosts it left behind.