Rhyolite lies above the northeartern edge of Death Valley, nestled below the Bullfrog Hills in Southwestern Neavada. The first white man to venture into this area was R. J. Boyer way back in 1847. Not much else is known about Mr. Boyer as the area remained very desolate until about 1904.
That's when two propectors, Shorty Harris and Ed Cross, decided to make their way through the area, as prospecting in Death Valley had turned up very little. Their luck soon changed when they found gold in the hills where Rhyolite would soon be born. The gold was clumped in with some green rock, resembling a bullfrog's back. They decided to name the surrounding mountains, the Bullfrog Hills. Shorty and Ed had found their gold and staked their claim by late 1904. The town of Bullfrog soon followed...along with other prospectors looking to stake their claims. Among them were Frank Busch and P. R. Stanley. These two men were not happy with the town of Bullfrog, so they went up the valley about a mile, and founded their own town. They decided to call it Rhyolite.
People that lived and worked in the nearby town of Bullfrog were offered a free plot of land to move their business to Rhyolite. It was only a mile up the road from Bullfrog. Well, their plan worked. People starting moving into Rhyolite and bringing their businesses with them. They arrived in droves. The town was soon busting at the seams. Enthusiastic townsfolk and eager prospectors came from far and wide to stake their claims in hopes of finding their golden treasure. It wasn't long before gold mine stakes were stretching in all directions for nine miles!
It was the Montgomery-Shoshone Mine that started all the gold rush of dreamers into Rhyolite. In 1906, Soon thereafter, Charles Schwab came along and bought the mine. He invested fortunes into the mine and the City of Rhyolite. He added infrastructure to the city on a grand scale. Soon the town had plumbing, running water, electric lines and railroads. They now had a steady supply line which helped the city grow quickly. The city quickly grew to more than 10,000 people residing in and around the area.
In late 1908, a private study of valuation was done on the Montgomery-Shoshone Mine by its investors. Turns out the mine was overvalued. The stocks for the mine plummeted. People sold off their investments in droves after the overvaluation was published. By the end of 1910, the mine was operating at a loss. Soon thereafter, in 1911, it closed up completely. Following the closure, the town's population began to dwindle...actually crash. In less that a year following the closing of the Montogomery-Shoshone mine, Rhyolite's population numbered less than 1000 residents. The gold rush was over for the Bullfrog Hills.