Ryan, California

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View of Ryan, California from Death Valley National Park, at the junction of Furnace Creek Road and Ryan Road
View of Ryan, California from Death Valley National Park, at the junction of Furnace Creek Road and Ryan Road
Ryan is located in California
Location in California
Coordinates: 36°19′23″N 116°40′17″W / 36.32306°N 116.67139°W / 36.32306; -116.67139Coordinates: 36°19′23″N 116°40′17″W / 36.32306°N 116.67139°W / 36.32306; -116.67139
CountryUnited States
CountyInyo County
Elevation3,045 ft (928 m)
Ryan Camp Photo taken from PUBLIC LAND location 36°19'19.0"N -116°39'54.7"W

Ryan (formerly known as Devar ("Devair" as a misprint)[2] is an unincorporated community in Inyo County, California.[1] A former mining community and company town, Ryan is situated at an elevation of 3,045 feet (928 m) in the Amargosa Range, 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Dante's View and 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Furnace Creek.


Detail from a 1930 USGS map of the Death Valley Railroad running from Death Valley Junction to the Lila C mine and New Ryan (depicted as Devair on this map

The mining community of Lila C was constructed in 1907 near the Lila C mine, which produced colemanite for the Pacific Coast Borax Company. The town was named by its owner William Tell Coleman, after his daughter, Lila C. Coleman. Soon after its completion, the community of Lila C became known as "Ryan", in honor of John Ryan (1849–1918), who was General Manager of the Pacific Coast Borax Company and a trusted employee of "Borax" Smith until his death in 1918.[3][4] The Ryan post office was opened at Lila C in 1907.

When a new mining camp was first constructed 11 miles (18 km) to the northwest in 1914, the new settlement was named Devar (misspelled as Devair on a 1930 topographic map) an acronym for DEath VAlley Railroad. The name was later changed to Ryan in honor of John Ryan and the old camp at the Lila C. The new camp is currently known as Ryan, CA or Ryan Camp.[5][unreliable source?]


Ryan was the western terminus for the Death Valley Railroad, the eastern terminus of which was located at Death Valley Junction near the borax works of the Pacific Coast Borax Company in the early 20th century.

According to the Death Valley Conservancy, "Ryan was a luxurious mining camp by any standards of the day – with electricity, steam heat and refrigeration it also boasted a school, a hospital, post office, recreation hall/church (shipped down in sections from Rhyolite) and a general store."[6]

After borax production had stopped in 1928, in an effort to increase revenues on the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad which had carried the borax ore, Pacific Coast Borax converted the miners' lodgings into tourist accommodations and gave tourists visiting Death Valley trips on the baby gauge rail line into the mine.[7] The Death Valley View Hotel operated full-time from 1927 until 1930, the year the Death Valley Railroad ceased to function. After 1930 the hotel was used as overflow accommodations for the Furnace Creek Ranch and Inn through the 1950s.[8][verification needed]

The Death Valley Conservancy is the current caretaker of Ryan Camp. The donation of Ryan Camp to the Death Valley Conservancy was completed by Rio Tinto Borax Corporation on May 6th, of 2013. The Death Valley Conservancy nonprofit charity is led by the former Rio Tinto Chief Executive of Energy & Minerals, Preston Chiaro, as the DVC's President. [9]


This area has a large amount of sunshine year round due to its stable descending air and high pressure. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ryan has a mild desert climate, abbreviated "Bwh" on climate maps.[10]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ryan, California
  2. ^ Bryan, TS; Tucker-Bryan, B (2009). "Tourism and the national park". The explorer's guide to Death Valley National Park (2nd ed.). Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado. ISBN 978-0-87081-962-9. After the mines closed in October 1927, the visitors had a second option of staying in the Death Valley View Hotel in remodeled rooms at Ryan, which was renamed Devar (later, Devair).
  3. ^ Hildebrand, GH. (1982) Borax Pioneer: Francis Marion Smith. San Diego: Howell-North Books. ISBN 0-8310-7148-6
  4. ^ "The Great Desert Railroad Race" Documentary written and produced by Ted Faye
  5. ^ Scott Smith - Superintendent Ryan Operations for DVC
  6. ^ "RYAN MINING CAMP, DEATH VALLEY". Death Valley Conservancy. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  7. ^ "The Great Desert Railroad Race" Documentary written and produced by Ted Faye
  8. ^ Scott Smith, Superintendent Ryan Operations DVC (records on site)
  9. ^ Rio Tinto Announces Donation of Historic Ryan Camp to DVC Press Release
  10. ^ Climate Summary for Ryan, California