Lincoln County

Outback of Nevada

The Markers Statistics Related Links

State parks and historical markers to ET's and UFOs. Get primitive! More than meets the eye in this forgotten piece of Nevada. Lincoln County originally belonged to New Mexico Territory before the the state line shifted southward eastward. A few years later, Nevada's line shifted southward at the expense of the Utah and Arizona Territories. The county was named in honor of the sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, the very same man responsible for admitting Nevada into the Union. Lincoln's seats were unsettled for a good number of years before Crystal Springs was awarded the first seat in 1866 followed by Hiko seven years later. In 1871, it was Pioche that prevailed as the dominant power and nobody seems to complain because it has been the seat ever since. (An interesting side note: Pioche is the one of two seats that have never been moved since the counties' founding.)

Pioche was first settled in 1864 with the opening of a silver mine and was hastly organized just in time for its boom into a full-fledged city of six thousand residents. It soon earned the reputation as one of the roughest towns in the West - rivaling camps in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming as the "roughest and toughes." Oh, but no better example of a typical Hollywood, rough-razored town succeeds Pioche! Local lore claims that seventy five men were killed by a lead slug before the first natural death occurred. Its legend has been immortalized by the creation of "Boot Hill" - now a quirky landmark in town that catalogs the mountain's rowdy past. Equally famous is the "Million Dollar Courthouse" built in 1871. The estimated cost of building the two-story court was originally $88,000, but its construction was postponed a number of times due to financial issues. After a few years total costs with accrued interest totalled nearly $1 million. This was possibly the final blow to Pioche's pocketbook. Eventually people moved on - leaving the "Silver King" and its buildings to wither away. Like many of Nevada's old mining camps, Pioche is a mere shadow of what it was but it currently reigns as Lincoln's government seat and one of the oldest grade schools in the state. The cliche "Never-Say-Die" line may have been born here.

The Landscape and the People
Lincoln County's unique variety provides an interesting insight to this off-lying corner of Nevada. US 93 is the county's lifeline to the rest of the Silver State and one designated as a "Scenic Route" for much its length through Lincoln. A drive down the 93 entails an arresting trip through three desert regions beginning in the cold, sage-choked desert of the Great Basin before curving its way through graphic "red" desert near Caliente. 93 ends its run with Mojave Desert in the south. The cluster of five state parks, however, is what pops Lincoln County from the map - parks all within a distance of forty miles! A trip to the massive ramparts of Kershaw-Ryan, Rainbow Canyon, or Beaver Dam are resembling of Zion or Capitol Reef National Parks in Utah. Cathedral Gorge perplexes its visitors with its sculpted sandstone spires and slot canyons while Echo Canyon and Spring Valley highlight some lovely cold water recreation in the Great Basin.

Landscapes aside, it's Lincoln's lifestyle that is hard to determine. Visitors here won't find free drinks, one-armed bandits, or bawdy neon lights. Even the familiar bar-and-tavern scene is far and few. Lincoln's atmosphere reflects more of nearby Utah largely because of the close proximity to St. George and Cedar City particularly in the southern half of the county. After all, the largest structure in Panaca and Caliente is the LDS (Latter Day Saints) Church. Only Pioche and the county's northern (Great Basin) half seem to keep the West alive and well. In other words, prepare to be the only one on the road on a Sunday Morning!

The Markers
Lincoln will likely be among your favorite marker haunts. The markers here have been widely scattered across the county in a way that pretty much requires you to visit every scenic corner! Here you'll find four towns of major importance ... and four possible marker bases depending on your flavor of the day. Keep in mind that the county is largely Mormon influenced which means the regular accommodations you're used to elsewhere in Nevada may be spotty here ...

In our conquering of Lincoln, we found two forms of lodging in Caliente, another one located in Alamo, two B&B's in Pioche, yet no lodging at all in Panaca. Most of these open only temporarily usually by request or reservation. There's a reason why Lincoln County has adopted the nickname -- "Get Primitive." It might be the last place in Nevada to catch onto the tourist rush! Our wise Sage wisdom says to stock up on everything in Ely or Las Vegas before heading into these parts and given the new reality check, camping might be the most reliable way to go! Cathedral Gorge in particular is probably the most centralized spot on the map - one that's located only a few minutes outside of both Panaca and Pioche. Kershaw-Ryan is another alternative with pretty sites, RV hookups and a location only a mile from Caliente and Lincoln's southern markers. Either park should be a great base! These markers can be conquered in a day but consider it sacrilege in this pretty corner of the world. (Two days may also give you a little time to adjust to the local customs.) Either way, great driving and great times await you in Abe's County. Just don't forget about the rest of us in Northern Nevada!

Markers of Lincoln County

Perhaps more interesting than the conquering of the markers here is the blessed variety given to marker hunters! Lincoln's markers concentrate on two things: the typical mining lore of old Nevada towns and the county's strong Mormon past. Don't be surprised if you find yourself coming back to this piece of Nevada time and time again.

[5] -- Pioche

37.9267, -114.44894

"Designated as the seat of Lincoln County in 1871, Pioche survived hard times as a supply and government center for a vast area."

[38] -- Pahranagat Valley

37.34849, -115.15021

"The Rolling Stones of Pahranagat," a hoax article on magnetic currents written in 1862 by Dan deQuille of the Territorial Enterprise, made this valley world famous."

[39] -- Panaca

37.79015, -114.38787

"Southern Nevada's first permanent settlement and perhaps one of its most unique was settled as a Mormon colony by Francis C. Lee and others in 1864."

[55] -- Caliente (Culverwell's Ranch)

37.61328, -114.51481

"Caliente was first settled as a ranch, furnishing hay for the mining camps of Pioche and Delamar."

[57] -- Old Boundary
(Nevada's Southern Boundary 1861-1867)

36.97724, -114.97706

"When the Territory of Nevada was carved from western Utah in 1861, this line became the southern boundary of the new territory ..."

[90] -- Delamar "The Widow Maker" (1893-1909)

37.62073, -114.78386

"The dry milling processes used prior to the introduction of wet methods created a fine silicon or "death" dust which caused the deaths of many residents and gave the town its nickname."

[93] -- Panaca Mercantile Store

37.79037, -114.38684

"Wagons from Salt Lake drawn by six-mule teams, carried stocks to, and produce from, Panaca and way stations."

[160] -- Panaca Spring

37.79536, -114.3851

"The large and constant flow of sweet, warm water from this spring makes possible the desert oasis of Meadow Valley."

[182] -- Panaca Ward Chapel

37.7909, -114.38732

"Oldest building in Lincoln County. Constructed in 1867-1868 of adobe from the swamps west of town."

[203] -- Bullionville

37.80684, -114.40619

"Bullionville grew rapidly and by 1875 it had five mills, a population of 500 and the first iron foundry in eastern Nevada."

[204] -- Jackrabbit

38.1072, -114.58371

"Local legend attributes the discovery to the locator picking up a rock to throw at a jackrabbit and finding himself holding high grade silver."

[205] -- Crystal Springs

37.53247, -115.23291

"The discovery of silver in Pahranagat Valley in 1865 resulted in the creation of Lincoln County with Crystal Springs designated as the provisional county seat in 1866."

[206] -- Hiko

37.59682, -115.22404

"Hiko, situated in the Pahranagat range of mountains, is an Indian expression for "white man's town."

[249] -- Union Pacific Depot - 1923

37.61278, -114.51399

"The depot represents an imposing example of Mission Revival design."