Rhyolite in Nye County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Tom Kelly Bottle House
The Tom Kelly Bottle House is one of the few remaining examples of bottle house architecture in the United States.
In Nevada, where wood is scarce and expensive, miners often built their houses with whatever was cheap and readily available. In many cases, glass bottles fit the bill. The bottles would be used like bricks and mortared in with adobe. Bottle houses are great in hot climates because they are cool in the summer, hold heat in the winter, and allow for natural light. This bottle house was built in 1906 by Tom Kelly, an Australian-born stonemason turned gold miner, using over 50,000 bottles. Kelly paid local children 10 cents for a wheelbarrow full of bottles - about $3 in 2021.
The building cost about $2,500, with most of the money going for wood trim and fixtures.
Instead of living in the house, Kelly decided to auction it off. He sold 400 tickets at $5 apiece, losing about $500 on the deal. The raffle was won by the Bennett family who lived in the house from 1906 to 1914. In 1907, The Bennetts hired Dave Kinney, a ship-wright by trade, to build the porch roof and add the
The bottle house's unique location and appearance made it a sought-after filming location. In 1924, Paramount Pictures used it in the film Wanderers in the Wasteland, based off a Zane Grey novel. Later that same year, the house was also used in the film The Air Mail. During that time, one of the film crews tore down the rear wall so filming could take place inside the building. After wrapping up, the production company rebuilt the wall and did basic stabilization and restoration work on the exterior.
Erected 2022 by Bureau of Land Management.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1906.
Location. 36° 53.835′ N, 116° 49.757′ W. Marker is in Rhyolite, Nevada, in Nye County. Marker is on Rhyolite Road, 1.4 miles north of Nevada Route 374, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Beatty NV 89003, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Rhyolite (within shouting distance of this marker); Rhyolite's District of Shadows (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cook Bank Building (approx. ¼ mile away); Rhyolite Train Depot (approx. 0.4 miles away); Rhyolite Titus Canyon Road (approx. 2.8 miles away); Desert Hills Cemetery (approx. 3.8 miles away); 1921 Fordson Tractor (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rhyolite.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 16, 2022, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 1,541 times since then and 774 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 16, 2022, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California.