Rhyolite Ghost Town

Nevada is home to a wide array of outlets for adventure. Regardless of your unique taste for fun – be it trying out local restaurants, dancing worries away in premium clubs, or exploring outdoors with historical value – there’s a place in it for you!

If the last-mentioned adventure appeals to you, then a visit to Rhyolite Ghost Town will most likely satisfy your adventurous spirit. Read on as we reveal more about this town that was once highly sought-after for its promise of gold.

A BOOMTOWN DURING THE GOLD RUSH

Upon the discovery of gold alongside quartz in Bullfrog Hills in 1904, Americans from all walks of life were drawn to move to the area. The event caused several boomtowns to emerge. One of them was Rhyolite.

bottle house rhyolite ghost town
The bottle house in Rhyolite was featured in the 1925 Paramount Pictures Film The Air Mail. Image courtesy of RETROFUTURISTIC and Atlas Obscura.

As Rhyolite houses the Montgomery Shoshone mine – the most promising mine back then – many chose to settle in Rhyolite. In 1906, it became the most populous town in the area.

It was also in 1906 that people began to urbanize the town, making it more conducive for living and working. According to the National Park Service, establishments in Rhyolite back then include:

  • Stock Exchange
  • Board of Trade
  • Hotels
  • Retail Stores
  • A school that can accommodate up to 250 children
  • Ice plant
  • Two electric plants
  • Foundries
  • Machine Shops
  • A Miner’s Union Hospital

Indeed, Rhyolite was at its peak that year! Back then, nobody probably predicted that it will begin to falter just the following year.

SHORT-LIVED BOOMTOWN

In 1907, two individual investors made a speculative investment in a copper mining company. Unfortunately, they lost big time. The event triggered a panic. As Americans feared for the security of their money on banks linked to the two investors, they started to demand cash withdrawals at the same time.

banks rhyolite ghost town nevada
The Financial Panic of 1907 triggered the death of Rhyolite. Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Atlas Obscura.

Soon after, running on banks was prevalent! People lost faith in banks and trust companies in general. They worry that these financial institutions also provide loans for risky investments. In U.S. history, this six-week-long run on banks was referred to as The Financial Panic of 1907.

The nationwide financial crisis led to the closure of several businesses, banks, trust companies, and mines. Of course, Rhyolite was affected. It started to lose power. In 1916, it became an abandoned town officially. Since then, Rhyolite was featured in several films like The Air Mail.

RHYOLITE GHOST TOWN RUINS

You can find several eye-catchy establishments and unique art installations in Rhyolite Ghost Town. Some of them are as follows:

  • Train station
  • Three-story banks
  • Small buildings
  • The bottle house. People built the bottle house using Budweiser glass bottles. In 1925, Paramount Pictures restored it for the movie The Air Mail. Locals also restored it recently.
  • Sculpture of a miner and his penguin – height: 20 inches; material: metal
  • Pixellated sculpture of a nude woman – height: 20 inches; material: cinder blocks
  • Life-size, fiberglass sculpture of the 12 disciples by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski
Rhyolite Ghost Town is home to unique art installations. Image courtesy of JRILATOS and Atlas Obscura.

Since 1984, several artists installed sculptures in Rhyolite. They did it as part of the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

VISIT NOW!

  • You can access Rhyolite Ghost Town by car. On the way to Beatty, Nevada, it is 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
  • The heat is extreme in the ghost town during the summer, so carry lots of fluid!
  • Note that there are no facilities in Rhyolite except for a latrine-style toilet.

Frankie’s Tiki Room

A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN ESCAPE TO THE FANTASY

Are you looking for a good place to drink tonight? A place where you can just loosen up and relax for a while? If the answer to these is yes, then an option can be going to a tiki bar! One of the popular tiki bars in Las Vegas is Frankie’s Tiki Room. The interior of the place is nothing short of the tiki culture. It’s no surprise considering not only one or two artists contributed to the overall design and vibe of the famous bar. There were many.

Frankie's Tiki Room Best Drinks Vegas
Located at 1712 W. Charleston, Frankie’s Tiki Room is open 24/7. Image courtesy of Frankie’s Tiki Room’s Facebook page.

Frankie’s Tiki Room has a 4.7-star rating on Facebook and a 4.5-star rating on both Yelp and Trip Advisor. In the latter website, the common great points about the bar in the review highlights were the drinks, the entertainment on the TV, and the atmosphere of the bar.

Don’t know about other tiki bars, but Frankie’s Tiki Room offers more than just visually-appealing and delicious cocktails and rum drinks. Read on below to know more about what Frankie’s Tiki Room offers.

1. Drinks

Let’s start by elaborating on the drinks before moving on to the other things that the bar offers. Frankie’s Tiki Room offers a wide selection of drinks. Its menu enumerates thirty-two drinks. They are all priced at $10. If you want your drinks served in a souvenir cup, the price is at $25.

In one of the review highlights from Yelp, one recommended trying the Fink Bomb because it has a strong taste and lots of alcohol. The drink is a mixture of coconut rum, 160-proof rum, melon liqueur, and pineapple juice. The 160-proof rum got me interested. It seems like a real bomb drink!

2. Merchandise

Frankie’s Tiki Room has a merchandise store! Some of the bar’s products are paintings, mugs, glasses, shirts, and gift certificates. They all have a touch of Frankie’s Tiki Room of course.

The bar also sells a book that tells the history of tiki in Las Vegas as well as the recipes of some of the drinks of Frankie’s Tiki Room! Pretty interesting, right? If you want to buy, know that you have the option to purchase any of the items online.

Frankie's Tiki Room Merchandise Liquid Vacation Book
One of the merchandise items of Frankie’s Tiki Room is a book called Liquid Vacation. Image courtesy of Frankie’s Tiki Room’s Facebook page.

3. Casino 

Frankie’s Tiki Room is not only a bar where you could drink and smoke. It’s also a bar where you cand play! Yes, it also has a casino where you can play video poker, blackjack, keno, and slots! 

THE TIKI BAR HISTORY

According to various resources, the idea of a tiki bar came from Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt or better known as Donn Beach. He grew up sailing to faraway islands together with his grandfather who is a bootlegger, a person who illegally sells liquors during the Prohibition Era. Eventually, he opened his bar called Donn Beachcomber in Los Angeles in 1933.

Various locals and celebrities were curious about the unique decor and drinks as well as the laid back atmosphere of Donn Beachcomber. They embraced the concept of a tiki bar, sparking others to replicate the concept. Soon, tiki bars were opened in various parts of the United States such as Columbus, Ohio, and Florida.

Tiki Bar

Back then, tiki bars served as an escape from the harsh reality of World War II. At present, I think it could serve as a place where people could unplug from social media. It’s a good place to connect with peers and appreciate life.

Although the tiki bar decreased in popularity in the 1970s, it remained. As per a 2017 article from The Business Insider, some bartenders nowadays are even modifying past recipes of tiki drinks. They are adding a taste of the modern era, giving customers a taste of both the past and the present.

NEED A DRINK TONIGHT? 

Get your much-deserved break. Drink, smoke and play at Frankie’s Tiki Room! The bar, which many says has some of the best drinks in Vegas, is located at 1712 W. Charleston and is open 24/7!

Akhob: A Jaw-Dropping Work of Art Hidden Inside a Louis Vuitton Store

Did you know that there is an art installation on the fourth floor of Louis Vuitton’s Maison City Center store? In 2013, the luxury brand commissioned an art installation of renowned contemporary artist James Turrell. It is called Akhob, which is an Egyptian term for “pure water”. It is one of the three works of Turrell in Las Vegas. Another is located in the same store and the other is at MGM Resorts International executive.

james turrell light artist
The works of contemporary artist James Turrell is more about your view of it more than his. Photo courtesy of James Turrell’s website.

At first, Akhob was exclusive to VIP shoppers. Perhaps, the initial intent of the luxury brand was to make the shopping experience of their patrons extra special. Years passed, Akhob became open to the public for free! Nonetheless, just like the majority of the important things that people want in life, experiencing Akhob requires effort and patience. For one, it requires that you schedule an appointment to see it in advance.

Later on, I will further discuss the things you need to take note of in order to see Akhob. For now, let me tell you more about the experience of it.

Here’s how it goes…

  • Once you’re in the store, just inform any of the staff that you are there to see the art installation.
  • The staff would escort you to the fourth floor via an elevator.
  • The floor is beaming in white. You will be asked to put on shoe covers to keep the floor that way.
  • The staff will then give you a heads-up on the flow of the experience.
  • The art installation operates in a 24-minute cycle (other reference sites claim that it operates in a 25-minute cycle).

Oh, you may not take photos during the entire experience, by the way. Why? Well, the way to appreciate the art installation is through experience. And taking photos would keep not only you but also others with you from obtaining a full experience of it.

So, what happens during the experience of Akhob?

In a Garage article entitled “What Happens in This James Turrell Installation Stays in This James Turrell Installation”, author Sarah Valdez stated that the experience goes like this:

  • The visitors will take a few seconds inside a dim antechamber. This allows their eyes to adjust to the new lighting condition.
  • The visitors will then climb a staircase.
  • The staircase leads to a semicircular door which creates a view of another semicircular door.
  • The experience creates a sense of submersion, hence the meaning of Akhob.
akhob ganzfeld effect
Akhob is Turrell’s biggest Ganzfeld work. Photo courtesy of James Turrell’s website.

Akhob is categorized as a Ganzfeld, which is a German term for perceptual deprivation. By far, Akhob is the largest Ganzfeld work of Turrell.

Ecstatic to see Akhob?

The reservation to see Akhob is booked for about two months. Additionally, only six people can view Akhob at a time. These conditions just imply that you must reserve ahead of time. Want to book your reservation now? Just call (702) 730 3150. The store is open from Thursday all the way through Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

You’ll Never Guess Where This Piece of Berlin Wall Is Located

Who would’ve thought that a piece of the Berlin Wall is at the men’s bathroom of Main Street Station Casino? In fact, it had been there for about 20 years already! The piece measures about 3 meters in width and 1.6 meters in length. There are three urinals that are mounted on it. This is why many articles about this surprising fact were entitled “Pee on the Berlin Wall” as you may claim that you did. Well, close. The wall is protected by glass.

Portions of Berlin Wall

During the period of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was 154.6 kilometers long. Its final version comprised of 45,000 sections of reinforced concrete, 79 miles of fencing, about 300 watchtowers, 250 guard dog runs, 20 bunkers, and 65 miles anti-vehicle trenches. Intense, right? No wonder it was also referred to as the “Death Strip” back then.

The former barrier between East Germany and West Germany stood from 1961 to 1989. According to a chronicle about the Berlin Wall entitled the “Berlin Wall Story”, the people used 65 cranes, 175 trucks, and 13 bulldozers to crush the Berlin Wall. They crushed about 40,000 portions successfully, using them to reconstruct roads in Germany.

The portions that survived, on the other hand, were either auctioned off to collectors or sold to museums in various parts of the world. Some of them even ended up in unexpected places. Actually, one portion ended up in a place you would probably never guess: a men’s bathroom!

 

berlin wall at the men's bathroom of the Main Street Station Casino
Pee on the Berlin Wall. Photo courtesy of Atlas Obscura.

A Piece of the Wall in a Bathroom

You’re probably wondering how and why the piece of the Berlin Wall ended up inside the men’s bathroom of the Las Vegas casino. In as much as we want to let you know, the truth is: no one knows. According to Boyd Gaming Corporation, the owner of the Main Street Station Casino, the wall was already inside the bathroom when it purchased the property from another casino back in the 1990s. The previous owners sold the property because they went bankrupt before opening.

main street station casino at las vegas
Main Street Station Casino is home to a piece of the Berlin Wall. Photo courtesy of Atlas Obscura.

The Berlin Wall at the Main Street Station Casino, according to the spokesperson of Boyd Gaming Corporation David Strow, has become so popular to the extent that the owners needed to renovate the bathroom because of the “the unusual amount of traffic it gets”. The cause of traffic includes females too, by the way. Security guards escort females to the men’s bathroom when it’s empty so they could take a look at the famous item.

As hinted earlier, there are other unexpected places where you may find some pieces of the Berlin Wall. Nonetheless, the longest piece remains to be in Germany. It is specifically located in the East Side Gallery. It stretches about 1.3 kilometers long. By foot, you may see it entirely within 20 minutes.

In the United States, you may find the longest piece of the Berlin Wall at Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. To know more about the unexpected places where some pieces of the Berlin Wall ended up, check out this detailed article from CNN.

A Walk Down the Memory Lane

So, what’s the story behind the Berlin Wall again? After World War II, Germany was divided into East and West. The Eastern Part went to the Soviet Union and the Western Part went to the United States, Great Britain, and France.

Berlin, the capital of Germany, was also divided. Same thing, the Eastern part of Berlin went to the Soviet Union whereas the Western part went to the United States, Great Britain, and France.

The Soviet Union didn’t like the fact that the three countries control West Berlin. It made efforts to remove them from the city totally. In 1948, it commenced a blockade. The three countries found a solution to the challenge eventually. They supplied goods to those under them by air. The Soviet Union lifted the blockade a year after.

East Berlin vs. West Berlin

East Berlin made a move against West Berlin again after a decade. It built the Berlin Wall to address the continuous number of refugees going from East to West. At first, the Berlin Wall only comprised of two fences. Later on, as mentioned earlier, East Berlin secured the Berlin Wall further.

While patrolling officers were ordered to shoot any escapees they will see, many East Germans continued to fight for their freedom. They crossed from East to West in various ways. There were even some who crossed by flying in hot air balloons. More than 5, 000 East Germans successfully crossed the border between 1961 until 1989. As you would expect, there were also those that didn’t make it and got killed. About a hundred to be specific.

Years passed and the Cold War began to cease. On November 9, 1989, the spokesperson for East Berlin declared that German citizens within their area may now cross the borders. More than two million East Germans went to West Berlin upon the announcement. By the end of 1989, the Berlin Wall was crushed almost completely. And on October 3, 1990, Germany became one again officially.

See a Piece of the Past

While the Berlin Wall represents a dark time in history, it also serves as a reminder of how far the world has come. View the present in a much grateful light as you see (or “pee” on) a piece of the past. Head to the Main Street Station Casino today!

The Hammargren House of Nevada History

The house of Lonnie Hammargren, a former two-term Lieutenant Governor of Nevada and a retired neurosurgeon, is a remarkable tourist attraction in Las Vegas. It is impossible for someone who lives or pays a visit to Las Vegas to miss the Hammargren House of Nevada History.

Home to Three Houses

Hammargren’s abode is a sprawling estate. It measures to 12,000-square-feet and it is home to three houses. Every room in each of the house is themed. It is also beaming with artifacts from around the world. Eventually, Hammargren’s abode became known as a museum that showcases the history of Las Vegas.

Hammargren bought the first home, which he refers to as Castillo del Son (Castle of the Sun), in 1972. He outfitted it for two reasons: to look like the Palace of the Governor found in the Mayan Ruins and to function as a planetarium and observatory. Hammargren used to host a huge feast for Nevada Day, making the first home open for a tour for years.

One of the things you’ll see in Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home. Photo courtesy of Yelp’s review of Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home.

Besides being known as a NASA flight surgeon, a bronze star-winning Vietnam flight surgeon, and an earner of five academic degrees, Lonnie Hammergren is also known now for his odd collections. CNNMoney described Paradise Castle as the “only place in the world where you can find an Apollo space capsule, a dinosaur skeleton, Liberace’s staircase, the Batmobile, and a full-size Venetian gondola.”

He moved into the first home at 4218 Ridgecrest Drive, close East Flamingo and Sandhill streets in 1971 and later extended his accumulation into the neighboring property. TV’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous has featured his home.

Hammargren’s House, A Hidden Gem

The home goes by at least three names — the Castillo del Sol, the Hammargren Home of Nevada History, and the Paradise Castle. Dr. Hammargren considers his stead its very own country and gives guests false gold coins with his face on them.

One of the reasons why the Hammargren home has remained such a hidden gem is because it’s difficult to describe what it is. Hammargren’s property is predominantly occupied by items from old Vegas casinos, an interior dome of a hotel wedding chapel, an Egyptian tomb (where he plans to be buried in someday) and Evel Knievel’s motorcycle. There’s also a spirit house from New Guinea and replicas of famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal; an Apollo space capsule, a replica of the atomic bomb, life-size T-Rex, and movie props.

You’ll see a roller-coaster car from the Stratosphere in The Hammargren House. Photo courtesy of Yelp’s review of Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home.

The Collection

Signs from Vegas’ mobster heyday, casino-related artifacts like Popeye and Olive Oyl from the MGM Grand theme park, a roller-coaster car from the Stratosphere, and the Showboat’s paddlewheel are what comprise Hammergren’s collection.

In an episode of A&E’s Hoarders on December 18, 2016, Hammargren admitted that he and his wife, Sandy, were mired in $750,000 in debt and unable to pay the mortgage on their principal home, Castillo del Sol, where most of his accumulation stayed.

You’ll see signs and casino-related things in The Hammargren House. Photo courtesy of Yelp’s review of Lonnie Hammargren’s Museum Home.

Amazing Reviews

There are several reviews from Facebook, Trip Advisor, and Yelp. See what some people had to say about the Hammargren’s Home of Nevada History:

– Cheryl Adamson (Facebook)

“Dr. Hammargren has opened his personal house up to the public for tours once a year on Nevada Day for many years, for a small charitable donation. Last year, there was talk about it being the final year that he was opening it up for tours, but I am not sure if that is true or not — he is about 80 years old, and it is a huge intrusion into his personal residence, but he is the one who sent decades collecting all of the memorabilia and he loves to share it. It is an amazing place to visit. I’ve been there several times, and if it is open again this year, I’ll probably go again.”

– Mike45LC (TripAdvisor)

“We decided to check this place out with friends. Lonnie was walking around and saying hi to people. I recommend a quick visit when it is open once a year. This is a unique experience.”

– Greg K. (Yelp)

Dr. Hammargren still opens his home to the public on Nevada Day weekends (the last weekend of October) to show off his collection, but take note that his collection is now housed at 4300 Ridgecrest Drive. For a private tour, contact him at (702) 596-6669. According to reviews, entrance fee to the Hammargren Home of Nevada History ranges between $15 to $25 per person.