Rhyolite Historic Area, Nevada

Rhyolite is one of Nevada’s most famous and accessible early 20th century gold-mining boom towns turned ghost town. The crumbling brick façade of the town’s former Cook Bank Building is purported to be the most photographed ghost town building in the west. When gold was discovered here in 1904, people flocked to Rhyolite and its population soon burgeoned to 5,000 – 10,000 people. The thriving boomtown was home to saloons, railroads, newspapers, an opera house, grocery stores, barber shops, a red-light district, and many others. In less than a decade, however, the town began to decline. By 1920 the town was all but abandoned. Today, visitors may wander the ghost town, visit the Rhyolite Bottle House or the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad Depot. While out there, add these other heritage sites to your route: the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field; the ET (Extraterrestrial) Highway, and the Central Nevada Museum in Tonopah.

Rhyolite is located 4 miles southwest of Beatty, Nevada on State Route 374. From the turn-off, travel 3 miles on a gravel road to the recreation area. The site is staffed by Bureau of Land Management personnel. There is no admission fee.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Skagway Unit), Alaska

The discovery of gold in Canada’s Yukon brought thousands of gold hungry “stampeders” to Skagway and Dyea, Alaska. Skagway, at the head of the White Pass Trail, was the place where thousands of goldseekers poured ashore and went up the trail into Canada. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park features 15 restored buildings within the Skagway Historic District and administers the Chilkoot Trail and White Pass Trail units. Included in the park is a portion of the Dyea Townsite at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail. The park’s visitor center is in Skagway. The southernmost post of the park that commemorates the stampeders’ route is in Seattle at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Skagway, Alaska is located 80 miles by air north of Juneau at the northern end of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, is 110 miles by road north of Skagway. TRANSPORTATION: To Park: Access to Skagway is by small airplane, Alaska Marine Highway ferry vessels, cruise ships, train/bus (summer only), and vehicle on the Klondike Highway. In Park: Local tour and taxi operators offer transportation within the Skagway Historic District and to the Chilkoot trailhead in Dyea; bicycle; rental and personal vehicle.

Jerome State Historic Park, Arizona

The 1916 mansion of the James S. Douglas family sits on a hill overlooking the scenic Verde Valley, which was once the Arizona Territory’s most productive copper mining area. The Douglas family made a fortune in copper mining, and lived in the house during the heyday of copper mining in the area. They also used the mansion as a “hotel” for visiting mining officials and investors. The Arizona copper mining industry collapsed when copper prices plummeted during the Depression. The state of Arizona now preserves the mansion as an historic site. The mansion’s well-appointed interior and adobe-brick architecture reflect the high-life of copper mining magnates before the decline of their industry. Exhibits in the house display local mining history and methods. The site also preserves archival records such as photographs, newspapers on microfilm, correspondence, publications, manuscripts, and ephemera.

 

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Links: Jerome State Historic Park

Fayette Historic State Park, Michigan

The great iron ore deposits of the Marquette Iron Range in the Upper Peninsula were exploited in the mid-nineteenth century, establishing the state as a leader in the iron industry, and triggering the growth of industry boomtowns. One of those was the town of Fayette, the site of The Jackson Iron Company’s blast furnace, built there in 1867. Fayette’s success centered on its charcoal-fired blast furnace and the easy access to the main ingredients, lime and charcoal (from the nearby limestone cliffs and hardwood forests) for the smelting process. The town prospered for almost three decades, but improved technology sealed its fate. The massive blast furnace could not compete with the newer coke-fired furnaces. When the blast furnace closed in 1891, so did Fayette. Today, the town is preserved within this state park, and visitors may take a self-guided walking tour of the site. Included among its 26 structures and surface features are the town hall, opera house, hotel, several homes, and the remains of the blast furnace. The iron industry and its cultural heritage is preserved in historic sites and museums throughout the Upper Peninsula. Two excellent sources are The Marquette County Historical Museum and the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee.

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Link: Historic Fayette Town Site