Great Untold Stores Last Night

A big thank you to Eva Jensen, Dennis McBride and Donna Andress who were our panelists for last night's great Untold Stories: Revisiting St. Thomas.

The evening was very informative and filled with not just facts and figures but also lots of stories.  We all learned more about the area around St. Thomas, the history of the Native Americans, the history of the Lost City and lots of great info about the ruins.

Eva presented a great powerpoint on the history of the community and the ruins as well.

So thank you again to all involved and thank you to all those who turned out last night to learn more about Las Vegas History.

Next month, Untold Stories will look at the History of Helldorado!

For more information on that panel, click here 

Revisiting St. Thomas This Thursday evening




St. Thomas was a thriving farming community in the Moapa Valley.  But, when Boulder (Hoover) Dam was finished, Lake Mead began to rise behind the Dam.

The community of St. Thomas had to be abandoned.  Its citizens packed up their belongings and left for the territory ahead.

Left behind were the buildings, fixtures, wells and the reminders of a once-proud Mormon community.  As the Lake rose, St. Thomas faded from view and from memory.

But as the drought continues and the Lake gets lower and lower, St. Thomas has risen from its watery grave.  The crumbling buildings once again bake in the hot sun and eerily reminds us of our past.

On Thursday, April 3rd, Untold Stories will look back at the history of St. Thomas and the history of the ruins.

Untold Stories:  Revisiting St. Thomas 

Panelists will include:

Eva Jensen, curator and historian for the Lost City Museum in Overton

Dennis McBride, curator and historian for the Nevada State Museum

Dr. Michael Green, professor of history, College of Southern Nevada


Thursday, April 3rd 

7:00 pm

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Admission $12

For more information on St. Thomas:

The Past Resurfaces





As the Lake continues to drop dramatically, all sorts of artifacts that have long been underwater are popping up in the mud and dirt of where the Lake once was.

One such place is St. Thomas.  Once a small Mormon farming community, St. Thomas was established in 1865.  It was near where the Muddy River flowed into the mighty Colorado.  Many of the Mormon families left St. Thomas in 1871 when a re-alignment of the state line placed St. Thomas in Nevada instead of Utah.    Some families stayed and others moved there.  St. Thomas thrived and became a well-known community on the edge of the Moapa Valley. 

The building of Boulder Dam, however, doomed the community.  In anticipation of Lake Mead rising behind the Dam, the federal government bought out the homeowners in St. Thomas beginning in the mid-1930s.  Some families tore down their homesteads that had been in their family for generations.  Others walked away with what they could carry leaving behind their possessions that were too large or burdensome to take.

On June 11th, 1938 the last resident, Hugh Lord, rowed away from St. Thomas forever.   Lake Mead soon engulfed and covered over St. Thomas.  The town became but a memory that old-timers talked about.  When a drought in the mid-1960s caused the Lake to drop, some of St. Thomas briefly reappeared.  But the drought soon ended, the snows returned to the Rockies and St. Thomas soon slipped back under the blue water of the Lake.

Today, the Lake has dropped so dramatically that St. Thomas has resurfaced completely.  Guided tours can be arranged through the National Park Service for those interested in exploring this wonderful piece of Southern Nevada history.

One of these days, the snows will return to the Rockies and the drought will end and the Lake will once again reclaim this fascinating piece of history. 

 Special thanks to RoadsidePictures for letting us use that photo. 

Lake Mead Marina moved

Lake Mead Boat Landing 1935
As the water began to fill in behind Boulder Dam, boat landings began springing up.  One of the first on Lake Mead was the aptly named Lake Mead Boat Landing.  It opened in 1935.  Thirty years later it had grown into a full-sized marina and renamed the Lake Mead Marina.
Due to a drought through-out the Southwest the last few years, the water in Lake Mead has been dropping.  Dramatically.  The Lake is at an all-time low, one hundred feet below where it was at its peak.  Because the Lake has dropped so low, the old boat landings such as Overton Landing have been closed.  Marinas such as Las Vegas Bay have been moved to Hemenway Harbor in order to literally keep afloat.
On Friday morning, Lake Mead Marina fell victim to the shrinking lake and was also moved to deeper water at Hemenway Harbor.  With boat owners and photographers looking on, the Marina began its slow move.  How do you move a marina, boats and all?  
Well, we hope these photos from RoadsidePictures helps explain it: 
Detached from land, Lake Mead Marina Feb. 8, 2008 
On its way out of the cove 
Making a wide righ turn  
The carp wonder what all the excitement is about 
If you haven't been out to see just how low the Lake is, we recommend you do so.  It is a once in a life-time opportunity to see just how dramatically the drought has affected the largest man-made lake in the country.  Islands and other debris that had been beneath a watery grave for over seventy years now dot the landscape of the lake.  But nothing quite prepares for you seeing in person the difference in level between the high water mark and the level of the lake today.