Among the ruins of abandoned buildings in the ghost town of Rhyolite, this “bottle house” is an unusual reminder of the 50 saloons that once serviced the old mining settlement. Made up of 50,000 discarded beer and liquor bottles bleached by the searing heat of Nevada’s Death valley, the curious property was completed in 1906, taking less than six months to construct.
The bottle house was built by Rhyolite miner Tom T. Kelly and reportedly included a small number of patent medicine bottles among its construction materials. The property was one of three houses built using bottles and stands as a lasting example of recycling and environmental consideration in the old west.
Predictable water shortages in the region meant Kelly couldn’t even wash the bottles before incorporating them into the structure. Once complete, the miner plastered out the interior of the property and raffled it off to interested parties at $5.00 per ticket.
The bottle house was abandoned after Rhyolite became a deserted ghost town and fell into decay over the years. But a 1925 Paramount Studios production used the town as a location and the bottle house was duly spruced up. It was again restored in 2005, using period bottles to fill the gaps left by glassware that had disappeared over the years, and is now a popular Rhyolite landmark.