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Location of Pioche, Nevada

Pioche is an unincorporated community in Lincoln County, Nevada, United States, about 180 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Its elevation is 6,060 feet (1,847 meters). Pioche is the county seat of Lincoln County. It is named after François Louis Alfred Pioche, a San Francisco financier.[1] The town's current population is approximately 900.



The first European settlement of the area occurred in 1864 with the opening of a silver mine. Europeans abandoned when indigenous communities effectively mounted resistance to colonization. Recolonization launched in 1868, and François Pioche bought the town in 1869. By the early 1870s, it had grown to become one of the most important silver-mining towns in Nevada.

The town had a reputation for being one of the roughest towns in the Old West. Local lore says 72 men were killed in gunfights before the first natural death occurred in the camp. This legend is immortalized by the creation of Boot Hill, now a landmark in the city.

Landmarks and attractions

Pioche is known for its "Million Dollar Courthouse," built in 1871. The original cost of $88,000 far exceeded initial estimates and was financed and refinanced with bonds totaling nearly $1 million. Pioche currently contains the county administrative offices and has one of the oldest grade schools in the state.

Next door to the Court House sits the old Mountain View Hotel, where President Herbert Hoover is said to have stayed in 1930. Built in 1895, the old Hotel served the lodging needs of dignitaries visiting Pioche on court business. Although the building no longer serves as a hotel, it still serves as a superb example of turn-of-the-century western architecture. There is another hotel, the Overland, which is still operating, with 14 themed rooms, on the second floor over the main saloon. Local lore is that it is haunted by one or more ghosts.

An aerial tramway carried buckets ore from the mines to the Godbe Mill. The tramway ran during the 1920s and 1930's, but was only used for the transportation of silver and nickel ore. Although the tramway is abandoned, it's cables still stretch over parts of the town, and it's ore buckets still hang to this day.

During Labor Day in September, the population swells when tourists and old locals come to taste the small town atmosphere. Tourists can participate in a variety of mucking events and view heritage day plays, which plays are based upon true Pioche stories and focuses on local heritage. The day's events are capped by an impressive fireworks display.

Current-day Pioche now boasts a well-developed downtown area, with parks, historic buildings and a vintage mining atmosphere. A Christmas tree lighting occurs each December, with a public tree decorated by locals. Visitors can still see the ore cars dangling overhead which used to carry the ore to the refinery, farther down the hill.


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