Tom Kelly’s Bottle House – Rhyolite Nevada

What is it?

By Greg Larsen

Do you know what this image is depicting?  Try to guess without zoom-in.  Make your guess before reading any further…

Ok, did you make your guess?  If you guessed a wall made of bottles, then you are correct. Congratulations!  Give yourself bonus points if you know where this photo was taken. 

The wall of bottles above is part of the historic Tom Kelly’s bottle house.  It resides in Nye county Nevada, in the historic mining ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada.  The house can be found off NV – 374, 5.9 miles southwest of Beatty Nevada and northeast of Death Valley National Park.  Rhyolite is a true ghost town, with many of the old structures still visible, in varying states of decay.  Most have deteriorated over the years and are now just rubble while others have one, two or three walls still standing.  Less than a hand full of buildings look complete, but that is due to restoration work.  One of those is the old historic bottle house. 

If you are ever  in the area of Death Valley or Nevada’s Nye County, then you might want to consider checking out Tom Kelly’s bottle house.  You will not be disappointed in taking time out of your day to visit the historic bottle house, plus  exploring the surrounding structures found in and around the ghost town of Rhyolite.   

More about the Tom Kelly’s Bottle House

Bottle House (photo taken February 2022)

The bottle house was built by Tom Kelly, in 1906.  Tom Kelly was an Australian-born stonemason who came to Rhyolite, to seek his fortune. Over 50,000 bottles were used in the construction of the house.  Where did Tom Kelly get all those bottles?  The signboard pictured below provides that answer, as well as other historical facts about this unique bottle house. To read the signboard you may have to zoom-in on your electronic device.

Signboard on site at Tom Kelly’s Bottle House

There was no supply shortage of bottles in the old mining town of Rhyolite, due to the number of saloons in town.  A Wikipedia page states, there were 50 saloons in this historic mining town in 1905.  Some of those bottles from the saloons didn’t survive intact to make it to the bottle house.  This is evident by the abundance of broken glass scattered around the  mining town and the surrounding hillsides

Shards of Glass

Other Things To See

·       The ghost town of Bullfrog

·       Cemetery that served both the cities of Rhyolite and Bullfrog

If you liked this post, need additional information, have a question, find errors, or have first-hand experienced visiting the bottle house please leave a comment.  I will reply to all comments when I’m not adventuring or writing additional journal posts.  If you’d like to read additional adventure journal posts click here,

Happy Adventuring! More explorations journal posts coming soon…