Nevada February 08, 2017
The Deadly History Of This Nevada Town Is Terrifying But True
The little town of Pioche in Eastern Nevada is a fun place to visit to experience the Western atmosphere and state history. There’s a spot in Pioche though that’s a symbol of the town’s initial rough and violent history.
Pioche is located in Lincoln County not far from the Utah border. The town's population currently is around 1,000 people but at one time it numbered in the thousands.
In the 1870s, Pioche was actually a thriving town with an economy based largely on silver mining. The remnants of the mining days can be seen to this day with the aerial tramways used for moving mined ore still hanging over the town.
In the early days of the town, when it was just a settlement started in 1864, there were many raids and deaths brought on by Native Americans objecting to the settlers' presence.
Because Pioche was so remote, settlers decided to leave out of fear for their safety and the town was abandoned for several years until they felt safe enough to return in 1868. During that period, the bad reputation of the town grew.
Boot Hill became the spot were the violence of the early history of the town was memorialized.
There are actually several "boot hills" in western states. The term refers to someone who died with their boots on (in other words, they were killed instead of dying from natural causes.)
It's rumored that 72 were murdered during gunfights before anyone in the settlement died for legitimate reasons.
One area where fights erupted, often deadly, was over claim jumping, which was a serious business during the mining boom. Experienced gun fighters were hired to protect claims and encroachments with deadly force.
Today the Boot Hill Cemetery rests underneath the abandoned aerial tramway lines, giving the area an extra desolate and creepy atmosphere.
The grave sites are crudely marked with stones and wooden grave markers with inscriptions carved into wood. The markers are definitely weathered with time although you can still read the inscriptions.
The reason for each person's death is carved into the markers in simple language, such as this succinct explanation.
Pioche definitely had a reputation as one of the "baddest" and toughest towns around in the late 1800's. Clearly violence was used to solve a host of problems in the beginning, although thankfully the town evolved into the charming spot it is today.
What do you think of the deadly history of Pioche? Share in the comments!