Timing Is Everything or The Story of Shorty, Ed And The Town Of Rhyolite

In 1904 Shorty Harris and Ed Cross, both prospectors, found gold near the town of Beatty.  The well liked and popular, Shorty Harris, was quite the character and it was said the 5’4” prospector could smell gold. Although shorty had several good claims he never worked or developed the claims, instead he preferred to drink at the saloon regaling the other patrons with his stories in which he was quite frequently the hero.

It was Harris’s mule who found the gold. It was said as the two were preparing to head out for the day, Ed was cooking breakfast when one of Shorty’s mules took off.  Shorty who chased after the mule, stubbed his toe on a rock and fell down. As he was getting up, he looked around before letting out a yell: “There it is, the strike of the century! Forget the breakfast Eddie and get this assayed.”

The ore samples came back to be worth $3,000 per ton and Shorty wasted no time going to the saloon to celebrate. While Shorty was on a binge for almost a week, Ed was working on lining up a sale for the mining rights.

Ed  Cross was the business man and while Shorty drank his share of the goldmine away, . Cross joined with another man by the name of McGaliard and formed the Original Bullfrog Mine. Later, Ed sold his share for $25,000 and he and his wife bought a big ranch in Escondido, California. Which is well as the town of Rhyolite which sprang up around the mine did not fare as well.

Harris and cross found the gold in 1904. Rhyolite was established in 1905. Unfortunately, in  1906, as you all well know, was the year that San Francisco was hit by the infamous earthquake, destroying the financial district among others  and funding for Nevada mines was cut in half.

In 1906 the population of Rhyolite hit its peak at 8000 and the mines began to fail. Two years later in 1910, people began to leave as the mine failed completely. In 1919 the Post office finally closed and in 1920, 16 years after its founding the population was at a mere 14.