The historic building that houses the museum has played many roles in the area. It has been a bank, hospital, general store, post office, and a rock store to name a few of its past identities. Caution had to be used when renovating the museum because of its historical designation. It was moved several times until it found its final home in Shoshone. 

The building was first constructed in the mining boom and bust town of Greenwater in Death Valley. It was then moved to Zabriskie, a station stop on the Tonopah Tidewater Railroad, and finally, it was moved to Shoshone.


The Museum building as it looked in Greenwater 1909. The building was originally used as a bank after its construction in 1906. Later it became a hospital. Dad Fairbanks made it a residence in 1909 after Greenwater went “bust”. On the porch are Celesta Fairbanks, Stella Fairbanks and Vonola Fairbanks. Vonola planted the date palms at China Ranch from seed.

The museum building was moved to Zabriskie when Greenwater folded, where it became a store. Zabriskie was a stop on the Tonopah Tidewater Railroad and had a post office.

The building was moved to Shoshone by Charlie Brown and Dad Fairbanks around 1922 to serve as a store and gas station. Charlie Brown is at the gas pumps. Fuel was delivered in large drums which can be seen in the front of the store.

This is a good view of the bench on the side of the building where locals gathered to socialize. Charlie Brown stands in front of his Studebaker.

The gas that was delivered in barrels that can be seen on the porch was dispensed to the customers by the original hand pump. This pump required pumping by hand since electricity was not available.


 In the 1930’s a cantilever and two large window were added, as well as a gas pump and a coat of paint. The gas pumps displayed in the photo were “hand pumps”. The glass enclosure was built between the pumps to display supplies for sale. Fuel sold was either “Regular” or “Ethyl”.


The glass enclosure was moved to the side of the store in the 1940’s and electric gas pumps were installed. Power was supplied by two large Kohler plants which also supplied the town.

When the present store was completed in 1949, the business was moved to the new location. Leon Noyce operated the “Desert Rock Shop” in the “old store” until his death in the mid-1980’s.




P.O. Box 38

Shoshone, CA 92384

Phone: (760) 852-4524

Open 7 Days: 9am to 3pm


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