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 marked 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

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

Colorado Steamships

From 1852 through 1909, Colorado Steamships ferried people and supplies up and down the Colorado River to mining camps and outposts. Following the discovery of gold in California, westward expansion of the United States was on the mind of most people seeking their fortune of livelihood. Wagon trains, horses and trains all brought people deep into the new county seeking their fortune. Lesser known is the role of the steamships, which brought supplies and people up the Colorado River from Baja California to the Green River in Wyoming.

View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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Callville Nevada – Colorado River Steamship Landing

Callville Nevada is a ghost town and Colorado River Steamboat port, which is now submerged below the waters of Lake Mead. Bishop Anson Call founded and established a colony and warehouse on the Colorado River at the direction of the Mormon Leader Brigham Young. The settlement was located about 15 miles up river from the location of the future site of Hoover Damn.

  Call's Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 - Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Call’s Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 – Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Bishop Anson Call, Mormon Colonizer, May 13, 1810 – August 31, 1890
Bishop Anson Call, Mormon Colonizer, May 13, 1810 – August 31, 1890

Callville was established on December 2, 1864 when Anson Call arrived on a small bluff over looking the Colorado River in the Arizona Territory. The settlement was located at the conjunction of the later named Callville wash and the Colorado River.

The founding of the settlement was the churches effort to expand trade routes and European immigration into Utah from the south. The small portgage and landing site was one of several along the Colorado including St. Thomas, Saint Joseph, Overton, West Point, Mill Point ( Simonsville ) and Rioville.

During the Civil War, the army of the United States garrisoned at the site, to protect the Colorado River Steamboats and serve as a landing point for army. In December 1865, the outpost had the honor to become the county seat for Pah-Ute County, Arizona Territory. The station was short lived and transferred to St Thomas just two years later.

In 1869, the army garrison was removed. Following the war, Congress redrew some of the state boundaries and the settlement in the Arizona Territory is moved to Nevada. From 1866 to 1878, the landing at Callville was the High Water of Navigation for steamboat traffic on the Colorado River, which is 408 miles from Fort Yuma. The town was abandoned in June 1869 when the Steamships discontinued service to the site.

Today, the town lies in under 400 feet of water. However, the water levels in Lake Mead are at an all time low, and St. Thomas is currently above water.

“Take a suitable company, locate a road to the Colorado, explore the river, find a suitable place for a warehouse, build it, and form a settlement at or near the landing.” 

Brigham Young instructing Anson Call, 1864

Town Summary

LocationCallville
LocationLake Mead, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.1133128, -114.6888720
GNIS863773
Other Common NamesCall’s Fort, Old Callville

Callville Map

Resources

Rioville Nevada – Colorado Steamship Landing

Founded in 1865, Rioville, Nevada was founded by Daniel Bonelli at the confluence of the Virgin River and the Colorado River. Bonelli was a Mormon settler who was sent to the area by Brigham Young. The town is long since drowned in the rising waters of Lake Mead.

Rioville, Nevada also known as Bonelli's Landing, circa 1900
Rioville, Nevada also known as Bonelli’s Landing, circa 1900

Originally known as Junction City, the small crossing of Stone’s ferry was purchase by Bonelli in 1870. Stone’s ferry was renamed Bonelli’s Ferry for its new owner, and the ferry crossing was moved to Junction City which was about two miles down river. In 1871, the site was abandoned by its settlers.

In 1880, a second wave of settlers arrived and the town was renamed to Rioville. The ferry was pulled over the river by a man with a rope line. It cost $10.00 to cross, which included a wagon and 2 persons with an additional charge $0.50 for each additional person. A post office was founded in 1881 and operated until 1906

The original ferry boat at Bonelli's Landing - 1890
The original ferry boat at Bonelli’s Landing – 1890

On July 8, 1879, the steamboat Gila, piloted by Captain Jack Mellon, made Rioville the uppermost landing for steamboats of the Colorado River. The arrival made the town high water head of navigation on the Colorado River and Captain Mellon finally proved that it was indeed the head of steam navigation on the Colorado River. The
Mormon population in town were “wonder-struck” to see a steamboat; one proclaimed it the “biggest thing he ever saw in water.”

Steamboats continued to traffic high up the Colorado River until 1887 when silver mining activity declined during high water months. The town was service from 1879 to 1882 the the sloop Sou’Wester during low water, carried locally mined salt to process silver ore in El Dorado Canyon. From 1869 to 1887, the landing at Rioville was the High Water of Navigation for steamboat traffic on the Colorado River, which was 440 miles from Fort Yuma.

The town was abandoned in the 1890s but the post office lingered to 1906 and the ferry until 1934. The rising waters of Lake Mead, caused by the construction of Hoover Damn drowned the location in water.

Town Summary

NameRioville, Nevada
LocationUnderwater Lake Mead, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.1502603, -114.3994176
GNIS849516
Post Office 1881-1906
StatusVery Wet
Also known asJunction City, Junctionville

Town Map

Resources

Anniversary Mine and Narrows

The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool.  Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

The Anniversary Mine and Narrows trail is truly a fun place to go and the location has a little bit of everything. This is a very short side trail found off the northern shore of Lake Mead and suitable for almost any vehicle.

Located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Anniversary Mine was founded in 1921.  The colomanite mine operated at seven years until 1928 and produced an estimation 200,000 tons of ore.  The mine is located a short ways off North Shore Road (167).  There exist some foundations, and tunnels along with some minor infrastructure of the operation.

The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool.  Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

Should you drive down into the wash you have the opportunity to continue on to the left, or you can turn right and drive towards the mine narrows located at the end of the canyon.  The only obstacle is right at the beginning and and easy to get past with some clearance. Once past the trail is just a wash, but do yourself a favor.  Park the 4×4 and take the time to walk it. Just past the beginning obstacle, there are some tunnels about 20 feet up on the side of the canyon wall, which are fun hike up to and explore.

Leaving the side trail from the Anniversary Mine, Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Leaving the side trail from the Anniversary Mine, Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

There are things to explore all along the route to the narrows and it is a great excuse the get out of the truck.  The slot canyon is about 1/4 of a mile in length and a bit tight in the few places. This is a nice place to hike on a hot day.

Anniversary Mine 4×4 Trail and Destination