Colorado River Basin Group

57 Old Boundary

on U.S. Highway 93, thirty miles south of Alamo, Nevada

The 37th degree north latitude is marked at this point as the dividing line between the territories of Utah and New Mexico under the provisions of the Compromise of 1850 which originally organized the land ceded by Mexico in 1848.

When the territory of Nevada was carved from western Utah in 1861, this line became the southern boundary of the new territory and continued to serve as such when the territory and state were enlarged by extensions to the east in 1862 and 1866 respectively.

In 1867, the Nevada legislature approved the action of Congress to add that portion of the territory of Arizona which lay to the south of this line, west of the 114 west longitude and the Colorado River, and to the east of the boundary of California. This action, taken on January 18, 1867, gave the state of Nevada the permanent boundaries as they are today.

56 Virgin Valley

on Interstate Highway 15 in Mesquite, Nevada

Famed western explorer Jedediah Smith visited Virgin Valley in 1826. Captain John C. Frémont passed through here in 1844.

The valley served as the right-of-way for the Old Spanish Trail (1829-1848) and for the Mormon Road or southern route of travel to southern California.

The area was settled by pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who colonized Bunkerville in 1877 and Mesquite in 1880.

The Virgin River provided water for the development of the valley’s agricultural resources.

55 Caliente (Culverwell’s Ranch)

on U.S. Highway 93 in Caliente, Nevada

Caliente was first settled as a ranch, furnishing hay for the mining camps of Pioche and Delmar. In 1901, the famous Harriman-Clark right-of-way battle was ended when rancher Charles Culverwell, with the aid of a broad-gauge shotgun, allowed one railroad grade to be built through his lush meadows. Harriman and Clark had been battling eleven years building side-by-side grades, ignoring court orders and federal marshals.

The population boom began with an influx of railroad workers, most of them immigrants from Austria, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire. A tent city was settled in August 1903.

With the completion of the Los Angeles, San Pedro, and Salt Lake Railroad in 1905, Caliente became a division point. In 1906-07, the Caliente and Pioche Railroad (now the Union Pacific) was built between Pioche and the main line at Caliente. The large Mission revived style depot was built in 1923, serving as a civic center, as well as a hotel.

41 Pueblo Grande de Nevada

on State Route 169 two miles south of Overton, Nevada

Native Americans living throughout Moapa Valley between 1700 and 900 years ago left several hundred ancient pithouses, campsites, rockshelters, salt mines and caves. These so- called “Anasazi” people make up what is commonly known as “Lost City.” The Native Americans cultivated corn, beans, and squash in fields irrigated by river water. They also gathered wild seeds and fruits and hunted widely for deer, antelope, desert bighorn sheep, small mammals, and birds. They wove fine cotton cloth, fired beautifully painted and textured pottery and mined and traded salt and turquoise for seashells with coastal tribes. Early dwellings were circular pithouses below ground. Later above-ground dwellings were single story adobes having up to 100 rooms.

Lake Mead, created by Hoover Dam, flooded the most intensively developed portion of Lost City.

40 Las Vegas (The Meadows)

on West Charleston Avenue and Valley View Road in Las Vegas, Nevada

The famous Las Vegas Springs rose from the desert floor here, sending two streams of water across the valley to nurture the native grasses, and create lush meadows in the valley near Sunrise Mountain. The natural oasis of meadow and mesquite forest was the winter homeland of Southern Paiutes, who spent the summers in the Charleston Mountains. An unknown Spanish-speaking sojourner, named this place “Las Vegas” meaning “The Meadows,” marking it on a map of the Southwestern Desert.

Antonio Armijo stopped at the Springs in 1829-30, traveling a route, which became known as the Old Spanish Trail. After 1830, the route rested beside the Springs. On one of his western exploration trips, John C. Frémont camped here on May 3, 1844.

Because of artesian water here, Mormons established the Las Vegas Mission and Fort in 1855; the Valley became a huge cattle ranch from 1866 to 1904; and the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad Company acquired water right and land, with which it created the City of Las Vegas in 1905.

39 Panaca

on State Route 319 at Panaca Firehouse

Southern Nevada’s first permanent settlement was settled as a Mormon colony by Francis C. Lee and others in 1864. Poor in resources, but rich in people, Panaca has changed little through the years. Although mining at nearby Bullionville and Pioche has had its effect, Panaca remains an agricultural community.

The post office was established in 1867, moved to Bullionville in 1874, and returned in 1879. During the 1870s coke ovens produced charcoal here for the smelters at Bullionville.

Originally located in Washington County, Utah, Panaca became part of Nevada by an act of Congress, dated May 5, 1866. As the boundary was not then surveyed, a dispute arose over taxes levied by Lincoln County, Nevada. The matter settled in favor of the Panaca citizenry on December 4, 1871, after a long period of bitter litigation.

38 Pahranagat Valley

on U.S. Highway 93 at Alamo Junction

“The rolling stones of Pahranagat,” a hoax article on magnetic currents written in 1862 by Dan De Quille of the Territorial Enterprise made this valley world famous. Three local springs fill its lakes and irrigate its fields.

The Crystal Spring area, used as a watering spot and campsite, was a principal stopover on the Mormon trail alternate route. In the late 1850s, this area was a haven for outlaws who pastured hundreds of head of stolen cattle in its meadows. Although named as the provisional county seat in 1866, no significant town was built here.

Ore was discovered in 1865 on Mount Irish, and Logan City sprang briefly into existence. A stamp mill was established at Hiko in 1866 to crush the ore, and it became the center of activity for the valley when it became the county seat in 1867. It was the largest community in Lincoln County until local mining declined and Pioche claimed the county seat in 1871.

Alamo, established in 1900 is the valley’s largest present-day settlement. The area now includes several ranches and the Pahranagat Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

37 Powell of the Colorado

at Echo Bay at the end of the road

On August 30, 1869, Major John Wesley Powell landed at the mouth of the Virgin River, about twelve miles south of here, thus ending the first expedition through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

The expedition left Green River City, Wyoming Territory, on May 24, 1869. For three months Powell and his men endured danger and hunger to explore, survey, and study the geology of the canyons along the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Exhausted and near starvation, the Powell party was fed by the Mormons of St. Thomas, a small farm settlement about eleven miles north of here.

The original sites of St. Thomas and the junction of the Virgin and Colorado Rivers are now beneath the waters of Lake Mead.

This, and later Powell surveys, stimulated interest in the water conservation problems of the Southwest.

36 Moapa Valley

on State Route 169 two miles north of Logandale, Nevada

Rich in prehistoric culture, and noted by the explorer Jedediah Smith in 1826, Moapa Valley is crossed by the Old Spanish Trail.

In 1865 Brigham Young sent 75 families to settle the area, to grow cotton for the people of Utah, and to connect Utah with the Pacific Ocean via the Colorado River.

Located near the junction of the muddy and virgin rivers, and now under Lake Mead, the “Cotton Mission” was named St. Thomas for its leader, Thomas Smith. A prosperous, self-contained agricultural industry was built up in the valley, which included orchards, vineyards, cotton, grains, and vegetables.

The December 1870, survey placed the valley in Nevada which meant property owners owed back taxes to Nevada. The settlers, now including those in St. Joseph, (old) Overton, West Point, and Logandale, began leaving two months later. They abandoned the results of 7 years of labor, more than 18 miles of irrigation canal and several hundred acres of cleared land.

Other Mormons resettled the land in 1880. The area remains one of the most agriculturally productive in the state.