We didn't get to enjoy the museum because we got here too late. Yet, if your heading this way, please stop. These wonderful gems are a huge source of information of the local history. The web site you can see lots of wonderful exhibits of the local area.
Open: Daily 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM
Closed: Most Holidays
Admission to the Beatty Museum and Historical Society is free of charge. Donation are welcome and appreciated.
Four separate American Indian cultures have existed in Death Valley. The Nevares Spring People, a group of primitive hunters and seed gatherers about 9000 years ago when lakes still existed in the basin then, the climate was mild and games was plentiful. Four thousand years later the culturally similar Mesquite Flat People replaced the original inhabitants. The third group, the Saratoga Spring People, arrived about 2000 years ago to a dry, hot desert. These more advanced hunters and gatherers created handcrafts and left mysterious, meticulously created stone patterns in the valley. The Desert Shoshone moved into desolate area 1000 years ago. They were nomads, living on game, mesquite beans and pinyon nuts. They camped in the valley near water sources during winter and moved into cooler mountains in summer.
For the most part the park is FREE. So much to explore here, but once again, please take in the consideration of the weather.
Map of Death Valley
Began in 1984 when Belgian scultor Albert Szukalski created The Last Supper using live models to sculpt in actual size, wrapped them in fabric soaked in wet plaster until the plaster was almost set, then they could slip out. It was originally placed up by the train depot, but was moved to its present day location. Since then, additional artist have created numberous sculptures placed around the last supper. Since his death in 2000, the museum is non profit to care for his work and that of the others.
Located within the Bullfrog and Montgomery Mountain range, Rhyolite like Bullfrog sprung up from the discovery of gold and quartz. The Montgomery Shoshone Mine was vast becoming the most promising. By 1905 there were numerous saloons, lodges, restaurants, bargers, gambling houses, and weekly newspaper. In 1906 Charles Schwab bought the mine from Alexander Montgomery. Mr. Schwab invested heavly by putting in piped water, electric lines, hydro plants, and bring in the railroad. By 1907 the population boomed to 4,000. Banks were being built to accomodate wealthy and homes to accomdate the ever growing families. Sadly, like most mining towns the mines were wearing out. By 1909 the town started to decline dramactically and by 1914 the electricity was turned off.
This is FREE and all requires is your time. You can still explore these wonderful buildings a ruins. Just use care around them because they are still crumbling and please take in consideration of the weather.
Beatty is essentially right next to the ghost town of Rhyolite, a once flourishing mining town that grew rapidly with the Montgomery Shoshone Mine between 1905 and 1907. By 1908, it had about 5,000 people or so, electricity, a stock exchange, banks, and many substantial buildings. Economic and mining problems led to the town's rapid demis and it was essentialy abandoned by the 1920s. The ruins of many buildings remain, some very substantiaal masonry structures with basements, etc. The place is very impressive.
There's a ton to do in Death Valley, and because the park is so vast, you'll need to spend a lot of time driving from point to point. It's so big, that you almost for sure need to spend two days just to get the whirlwind tour. Beatty is a great location, because it's along a road that basically splits the park to the northern/western sites and the southern/eastern sites. Please see my Death Valley page for more on the sites within that huge park.
Right outside of Beatty (4 miles according to the sign) is Rhyolite ghost town. This was a mining town that grew to about 10,000 in population in the early 1900's, then disappeared within about 15 years. There are walking tours you can take, or you can simply drive from building to building. Some of the buildings are in much better shape than others, particularly the train station and the bottle house (a house whose walls are constructed from bottles).
I was there early on a Sunday morning and the place was deserted. There are signs warning you to watch for rattlesnakes, so I wouldn't get too deep off the main road. Seeing the main sites took about 10 minutes via the car, so it's worth your time if you are at all interested in ghost towns.