Nevada January 14, 2018
This Town In Nevada Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In The Nation In The 1870s
Nevada is full of places which were at one time quintessentially Western. The Wild West was thriving in the Silver State during the 19th century, and many of these rough and tumble towns still remain to this day. Some of these towns still bear marks of their wild history. However, there is one town that gained a reputation for being one of the most violent and dangerous places in the entire country during this time. It may look quaint and unassuming today, but during the 1870s it was one of the most dangerous places in the country.
The tiny town of Pioche is only a two hour drive from St. George and around 180 miles northeast of Vegas, yet if feels worlds away from everyone and everything.
Today, Pioche looks just like any other small ex-mining town in Nevada. However, Pioche is different. It was once considered one of the most dangerous places in the country.
The town was originally established in the 1860s. Even Pioche's beginnings were surrounded around violence.
William Hamblin was the first one to be introduced to the silver deposits in the area. He actually ended up selling his claim to the mine but revisited Pioche in 1872 to testify in a court case surrounding the mine's ownership. However, Hamblin was poisoned before he could testify. The fact that the one person who was first involved with Pioche's mine ended up being murdered is incredibly telling.
By 1873, the violence that plagued Pioche was apparent. It was by far one of the most unruliest and brutal towns in the West.
At one point, it was reported to the state legislature that half of the town were "thieves, scoundrels and murderers", and "The sheriff’s office could count on about $40,000 a year in bribe money". Pioche was a true Wild West town— the likes of which you only see in movies nowadays.
Visitors of the town today can still spot reminders of Pioche's fascinating history. The town is actually a thriving tourist attraction during the summer when hundreds flock to the town to get a taste of the past.
During its heyday, the town was home to 10,000 residents. This made it one of the most bustling mining towns in the state.
Pioche is still comprised of buildings that were originally erected during the 19th century.
One of the most popular attractions is the Million Dollar Courthouse. The original construction of the courthouse was given a budget of $26,000 in 1872. However, due to mismanagement of the project and several added costs the courthouse ended up costing around a million dollars. The courthouse still stands today and is a popular place to visit among tourists. The courthouse is a testament to the amount of misconduct that occurred in the town.
Pioche was a town where murderers and thieves ran amok without much interference. The town didn't quiet down until the mines eventually were closed in 1876.
Presently, this small town is an amazing sight with approximately 2,000 residents. You can't help but feel the energy left behind from the town's former mining days as you stroll down the main street. Pioche is a must-see destination for Nevadans as it is a vibrant reminder of our state's crazy history.
Have you been to Pioche before? If you’re a fan of the Wild West, be sure to check out this
Old-Timey Restaurant In Nevada That Makes You Feel Like You’re In The Wild West.