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ghost towns Rhyolite

Rhyolite, Nev.

As difficult as it is to believe, this dusty strip of land in the Bullfrog Hills of Nevada once was home to bankers, teachers and hundreds of families, in addition to the gold miners who flocked here in the early 1900s. Those who visit Rhyolite, Nev., today can still see walls and skeletal remains of the three-story bank building, part of the old jail and a glass bottle house, which Paramount Pictures restored decades ago for a film.

Rhyolite, 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, boomed for three years. During its brief life, it had a stock exchange, a board of trade, a train station and two schools. The town is near Beattie, Nev., and 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitors Center in Death Valley National Park (but not inside the park). Info: rhyolitesite.com, (760) 786-3200.

(Photo: courtesy Travel Nevada)

9 spooky ghost towns to visit this fall

Time travel still eludes us, but there’s a way to step back into the American West’s astonishing past through ghost towns, each with its own story to tell. And there’s no better time to visit than fall, when temperatures cool and Halloween is on the horizon. Some of the nation’s best tales of horror come from old silver, gold and copper mining towns — places where greed drove gunmen, prospectors and settlers to violence and mayhem. Who knows? You might scare up a ghost or two in the process. | By Rosemary McClure