Thursday, September 13, 2012

Exploring Lincoln County, NV – Pioche and Cathedral Gorge

Pioche, NV  High 88  Low 54


In the 1860s Pioche, Nevada was the baddest town in the west; badder than Tombstone, badder than Dodge City. It was so bad 72 people were killed before one died a natural death. The only law in town was the gun. Today, Pioche is a living ghost town.


William Hamblin made the first discovery of gold and silver here in 1863. The site produced $40 million in ore. However, the town was developed by a Frenchman by the name of F. L. A. Pioche, a banker from San Francisco, to whom Hamblen sold his claims. Mr. Pioche never did visit the town named after him.

Pioche’s Boot Hill contained the first "Murderer's Row", a section  set apart from the rest of the cemetery, containing the graves of over 100 murderers. Most are unmarked.

P1000742 P1000739

The view from Boot Hill.


Pioche is known for its Million Dollar Courthouse which was built in 1871. The original cost of $88,000 far exceeded initial estimates and was financed and refinanced with bonds totaling nearly $1 million. (Does this type of situation sound familiar with our current government?) The Lincoln County Courthouse was condemned in 1933, three years before it was paid for. It has since been restored into a museum.


A trial being held in the courthouse.


The jail is outside the back door on the second floor.


Hey Gary – here’s a law library for you. (And this is only part of it)


How about a typewriter or adding machine?


During the 1920’s and 1930’s an aerial tramway carried buckets of ore from the mines to the Godbe Mill. 

You can see the mill at the bottom of the hill in this picture.P1000740

The tram was gravity powered. The weight of the ore in the full buckets going to the mill pulled the empty buckets back to the bin.  The cables still stretch across the town and ore buckets still hang from them.



We also visited the Pioche Museum. Packed full of fun stuff.




After exploring Pioche we stopped at Cathedral Gorge State Park on our way back to Caliente.

This area used to be covered by a freshwater lake nearly 1 million years ago. Over the centuries, the lake began to gradually drain. Erosion began working on the lake bottom. Rainwater and melting snow carved rivulets in the soft clay and created this truly beautiful gorge.

P1000751 Cathedral Gorge2

This is definitely worth a visit and offers lots of hiking trails.


  1. Wow, wow....I love, love love those places. What a great excursion for you.

  2. I'm glad you're getting to visit some neat places before Jim gets into fishing mode. :)

  3. Part of that almost looks a little like Bryce!! I'd like a detailed map of your trip through Nevada. I thought it would be a bunch of nothing but I was definitely wrong. Looks like a great road to travel.

  4. Beautiful. Hope the pooch makes a complete recovery. May need a ramp to get into your 5th wheel.

  5. Love that town! So much history! What a huge law library...who would read all those books? The courthouse is so neat. I love visiting any building with such history. Wonderful

  6. Interesting. Nevada can be a little barren but there are definitely some gems to be found. Loved the gorge pictures.

  7. Very interesting place, if we get back that way will have to make a stop:)

  8. Nice places you visited, glad you didn't give in to the temptation to lock Jim up!

  9. You are in an area of Nevada we have yet to explore. Looks like there are a lot of great things to see.

  10. Well? Never thought much about Nevada but your posts are really interesting ... I do plan on going to Lake Tahoe again and I remember Lake Havasu .., it was soooo hot when I was there last .., 927 degrees in the shade!

    Guess winter time would be better ;)

  11. I have been to Cathedral Gorge and have to 2nd it, well worth a day exploring. There is also a campground on hook-ups, but some sites had shade.

  12. Interesting story on Pioche, looks like an interesting museum to view also. Enjoyed the beautiful pictures of the gorge.

  13. Sounds very interesting. Hope Scooter is doing better.


Thanks for visiting today. I look forward to reading your comments. Have a beautiful day.