Searchlight Nevada

Searchlight Nevada is a unincorporated town with a history in mining. The small town in Clark County is located south of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada and honored with Nevada State Historic Marker number one hundred and sixteen. The Nevada Start Historic Marker is located on the west side of the highway as you enter town.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Main Street of Searchlight, Nevada
Main Street of Searchlight, Nevada

The town is founded after George Frederick Cook prospected the area beginning May 6th, 1897. It is said that he would take a searchlight to find gold in the area, lending the town its name. Following the discovery of gold, the area boomed, which caused its population to raise. At the time, the mining town was part of Lincoln County, and for a time its population was larger than that of Las Vegas. When Clark County is created the town was briefly considered to be the county seat.

Between 1907 and 1910, the gold mines of Searchlight produced $7 million dollars in gold and boasted a population of 1,500. Ore is shipped to Barnwell via the Barnwell and Searchlight rail service. In order to reduce costs, the Quartette company constructed a twenty-stamp mill on the Colorado River. The new mill utilized a 15 mile narrow gauge rail is constructed down to the mill in an attempt to further reduce costs. The rail is completed in 1902. Several tent saloons are erected during this time and named Cyrus Noble, Old Bottle and the Little Brown Jug.

Quartette Mill, Searchlight, Nevada
Quartette Mill, Searchlight, Nevada

Later in 1903, enough water is is on hand in town to support a second twenty-stamp mill. The onsite mills capacity is further increased in 1906 when the Colorado Mill is closed and relocate near town.

During its peak in 1907, Searchlight boasts well-furnished stores, about a dozen saloons, telephone exchange, forty four mines and several mills. The Chamber of Commerce advertised some 5,000 people living in the little haven. Searchlight’s decline began in 1917.

Today, the town is home to about 500 people. Its location on the 95 highway offers a rest spot for travelers between Las Vegas and various Colorado River how spots, including Lake Mojave, Laughlin NV, Bullhead City and Havasu. The small community is home to a few small casinos, gas and food. Senator Majority Harry Leader Harry Reid is perhaps the towns most notable citizen. Harry Ried proudly raised the American Flag over his property, when he was home which was visible from the highway.

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Initial discoveries of predominately gold ore were first made at this location on May 6, 1897.  G.F. Colton filed the first claim, later to become the Duplex Mine.  The Quartette Mining Company, formed in 1900, became the mainstay of the Searchlight district, producing almost half of the area’s total output.  In May 1902, a 16 mile narrow-gauge railroad was built down the hill to the company’s mill on the Colorado River.

On March 31, 1907, the 23.22 mile Barnwell and Searchlight Railroad connected the town with the then main Santa Fe line from Needles to Mojave.  By 1919 trains travelled over the B. and S. Railroad only twice a week.  A severe washout on September 23, 1923, halted traffic completely.  Train service was never restored.

Searchlight is the birthplace of U.S. Senator Harry Reid (b.1939) who became the first Nevadan to serve as the Senate Majority Leader, a position he assumed in 2007.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 116
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

Nevada State Historic Marker Map

Town Summary

NameSearchlight, Nevada
LocationClark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude35.4744, -114.9307
Nevada State Historic Marker116
GNIS0845654
Populationup to 5,000
Elevation3,547 ft (1,081 m)
News PaperSearchlight Bulletin Jan 1, 1903 – Jan 3, 1913

References

Pueblo Grande de Nevada

Pueblo Grande de Nevada is Nevada State Historic Marker number Forty One and located in Clark County, Nevada. The ruins become to be known as Nevada’s “Lost City”. The marker is located about two miles south of Overton along State Route 169.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Pueblo Grande de Nevada - Source National Park Service
Pueblo Grande de Nevada – Source National Park Service

The site dates back to before the year 500 A.D. and the Basketmaker Indians and later the Ancestral Pueblo people in 1150 A.D. Archeological studies show signs of human activity and occupation as far back as 8,000 B.C.

The ruins become known to American Settlers in 1827, when Jebediah Smith found artifacts while exploring the region. The Pueblo Grande a complex of villages, was first seen by white settlers forty years later in 1867. There is little interest in the area, the ruins or the story they had to tell, until 1924. John and Fay Perkins of Overton, Nevada, discovered the ruined complex. The “Lost City” captured the imagination of Nevada and soon became a tourist spot.

To the south of Overton Beach are prehistoric salt mines. Early inhabitants in the area mined salt from these caves. The mined salt is used for trade, survival and food preparation. During excavations in 1925 and 1926, many artifacts are discovered in the caves, including pottery, stone clubs, sandals and other items. These artifacts offered a limited glimpse into the daily lives of the people who worked the salt mines.

Flood Waters

Rising waters of Lake Mead swallowed some of the ruins, with the construction of Hoover Damn. The waters flooded the “Lost City”. The area has been the subject of numerous archeological studies which allow us to better understand the ancients peoples of the land. Today, the Lost City Museum of Archaeology in Overton continues to tell the story of the area and preserve the various artifacts discovered over the past two hundred years.

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Indians of a highly developed civilization lived throughout Moapa Valley from 300-1100 A.D. Several hundred ancient pithouses, campsites, rockshelters, salt mines and caves of Anasazi people make up what is commonly known as “Lost City.” These people 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 to coastal tribes for seashells. Early dwellings were circular pithouses below ground; later dwellings above ground were single-story adobes having up to 100 rooms.

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

Trail Map

Nevada State Historic Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker No.41
NamePueblo Grande de Nevada
LocationClark County Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.525, -114.4338
GNIS847639

References

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37 is a marker commemorating the 1869 exploration of the Grand Canyon by Major John Wesley Powell. The mark is located overlooking Lake Mead, Nevada.

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37- The 1871 Powell Expedition preparing to depart Green River.  Photo NPS
The 1871 Powell Expedition preparing to depart Green River. Photo NPS

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

On August 30, 1869, Major John Wesley Powell landed at the mouth of the Virgin River, about 12 miles south of here, thus ending the first boat 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 warmly greeted and fed by the hardy Mormon pioneers of St. Thomas, a small farm settlement about 11 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 great interest in the water conservation problems of the Southwest.

Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker 37
NamePowell on the Colorado
LocationLake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.3072, -114.4201

References

USGS

Wild Burrow ( Equus africanus asinus )

Scattered across the south west scattered small populations of Wild Burrow ( Equus africanus asinus ) thrive in the harsh landscape. The burrow is also known as a donkey, wild ass. The animal is first first brought to the desert southwest by the spanish explorers in the 1500’s as pack animals. The humble burrow help haul goods and open the west. The burrow populations across the desert are the result of escapes, abandoned animals or stranded by the death of their owners.

Wild Burrow photographed in Beatty, Nevada - Photo by James L Rathbun
Wild Burrow photographed in Beatty, Nevada – Photo by James L Rathbun

This animal, which was originally found in Africa and later domesticated, is well suited to the dry desert landscape. The frame of the animal is short of ruffed, standing about four and half feet tall and weighing about 350 pounds. The long ears and short manes are a well defined feature of this beast of burden.

"Wanderers of the Wastelands" vintage postcard of an unknown prospector and his burros. | Courtesy of Orange County Archives.
“Wanderers of the Wastelands” vintage postcard of an unknown prospector and his burros. | Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

Today, all across the desert, the little burrow can be seen in a variety of locations including, Mountain Pass California, Beatty Nevada, and Oatman Arizona. The great state of Nevada established the Marietta Wild Burro Range. The Marietta Wild Burro Range sets aside 68,000 acres. The range is managed principally, but not exclusively for the population of 100 or so, burrow in the area. The burros freely roam near the ruins of the historic Nevada mining town of Marietta.

It is not uncommon for them to approach people looking for hand outs. It is a common practice to pass laws prohibiting the feeding of burrow.

Classification

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Perissodactyla
Family:Equidae
Genus:Equus
Species:E. africanus
Subspecies:E. a. asinus

References

Nevada Test Site NSHM State Historic Marker #165

Nevada Test Site NSHM 165 is Nevada State Historical Marker number one hundred and sixty five and is located about 20 miles west of Indian Springs on Highway 95 in Clark County, Nevada. This marker is posted just off the highway and its orientation is parallel with the highway and can be difficult to see even when you are looking for it. There are very small highway signs in both directions on either side of the highway.

Nevada State History Marker 165 - The Nevada Test Site
Nevada State History Marker 165 – The Nevada Test Site

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Marker Summary

ID165
NameNevada State Hsitoric Marker 165 – Nevada Test Site
LocationClark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.5923, -116.0297

Nevada Test Site Marker #165 Map

NSHM Marker 165 Text

Testing of weapons for defense and for peaceful uses of nuclear explosives is conducted here. The nation’s principal nuclear explosives testing laboratory is located within this 1,350-square-mile, geologically complex area in the isolated valleys of Jackass, Yucca and Frenchman Flats. Selected as on-continent test site in 1950, the first test took place on Frenchman Flat in January, 1951.

Archeological studies of the NTS area have revealed continuous occupation by prehistoric man from about 9,500 years ago. Several prehistoric cultures are represented. The last aboriginal group to occupy the site was the Southern Paiute, who foraged plant foods in season and occupied the area until the coming of the pioneers.

Nevada State Historic Marker #165

References