Belgium in the Mojave~

The Oasis Inn in Death Valley National Park lives up to its name. But there is so much more in the area. Come on, let’s go explore….

Check out The Goldwell Open Air Museum, established by four Belgian artists in 1984, just outside the boundaries of the park.

The artists created large scale outdoor sculptures which, in combination with the desert landscape, result in a truly unique visual experience.

The feeling this evokes, like the desert itself, is eerie.

This is one of the artist abodes. Check the museum out at: http://goldwellmuseum.org/

After we explore the remarkable museum and it’s ghostly sculptures by ourselves for as long as we want (there is no one here to bother us), we mosey on down the road to Rhyolite, Nevada, a gold mining ghost town that boomed and busted between 1904 to 1920.

At it’s peak in 1908, Rhyolite had a population of 8,000. By 1920, when the gold had petered out, the population stood at 14.

The post office, the bank, the store, the school, all were abandoned.

Can you imagine living in a desert that reached the hottest temperature on earth with no AC?


One home, built in 1905, was constructed almost entirely of 50,000 beer bottles. It is one of the most well preserved buildings in the ghost town.

You can see the bottle details in this section of wall. You could sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” in this house, and actually be counting! For more on this unusual home see : http://www.nbmog.org/bottlehouse.html

Cheers to you from the fun to explore and always mysterious Mojave ~

218 thoughts on “Belgium in the Mojave~

  1. The open-air museum is really cool! It’s mind-boggling that within 12 years Rhyolite’s population went from 8,000 to 14. I can’t imagine how anyone could live in this environment without AC. Oh, and the bottle house is really interesting, gonna visit the link you provided. Thanks Cindy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Szukalski’s ghosts! They tend to pop up in the most unexpected places, like looking down from the roof of a not too tall appartment building in the city… 😉 Or, like in your case, in the middle of nowhere… 😀
    No idea who the others are… do you have their names?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, thank you for your kindness. My parents and grandparents are from Chicago (and very proud of it) and my husband and family from Iowa City (and very proud of it), Knoke Iowa too…Knoke is not a big town, laughing… The midwest is wonderful and I love to broaden my perspective when I visit your part of the world. But, I hear you about the distance…..if you do undertake a long drive to a place I post about, please talk to me before you go so I can try to make it worth your effort.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the same happens to me. I think the reader limits how many posts you can view, blogs you can see. It would be nice if they informed us of the limitations in the interest of transparency.

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    • I hear the bottles make wonderful insulation from both heat and cold. We definitely need to do more to house the homeless. Using recycled materials to build energy efficient homes sounds like a very good idea.

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  3. “Ninety nine bottles of beer on the wall…” I will have that song in my head all day. The house is amazing. I’m headed over to click on the link. And the couch must provide a beautiful view against the stark landscape. Fabulous, Cindy!!

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  4. This is really fascinating! Thank you for sharing your experience, I feel like I have been there too. I love that house made of glass bottles, it makes me want to make a house of bottles myself. 🙂

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  5. In the 80s I had to go to Death Valley a couple times a year for work. There is a small Native American tribe that has its HQ in the park. Unfortunately, because of the high hotel rates higher than my per diem, I usually had to go in the summer. Hence, I never took the time to explore the area much more than driving through. 118 degrees was just to much for sight seeing. 🙂

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    • How interesting that must have been and yes, they are The Timbasha, a small group of Shoshone located at Furnace Creek. We visited them several times to eat their wonderful fry bread and I got leads from them to find the wild donkeys.
      They have battled with the National Park Service to have some of their ancestral lands returned to them and finally succeeded in getting 7,000 acres in 2000. Here is what Wiki says:
      “Despite their federal tribal recognition and diminutive 1982 reservation, the Timbisha still faced difficulty and conflict with the Death Valley National Park’s National Park Service in regaining more of their ancestral lands within the Park. After much tribal effort, federal politics, and mutual compromise, the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act of 2000 finally returned 7,500 acres (30 km2) of ancestral homelands to the Timbisha Shoshone tribe.[3] Currently the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe consists of around 300 members, usually 50 of whom live at the Death Valley Indian Community at Furnace Creek within Death Valley National Park. Many members spend the summers at Lone Pine in the Owens Valley to the west.”

      Liked by 1 person

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