Moapa Valley Overview
The Old Spanish Trail crosses Moapa Valley.
In 1865, Brigham Young sent 75 families to settle the area and grow cotton. They developed the townsite of St. Thomas.
The Moapa area remains one of the most agriculturally productive in the state.
- Old Spanish Trail
Nevada Historical Marker Number
Moapa Valley is Nevada Historical Marker #36.
Click here to view the full list of Nevada State Historical Markers.
Nevada Historical Marker Transcription
Rich in Pueblo-type culture, and noted by the explorer Jedediah Smith in 1826, Moapa Valley is crossed by the Old Spanish Trail.
In 1865, Brigham Young sent 75 families to settle the area, to grow cotton for the people of Utah, and to connect Utah with the Pacific Ocean via the Colorado River.
Located near the junction of the Muddy and Virgin Rivers, and now under Lake Mead, the “cotton mission” was named St. Thomas for its leader, Thomas Smith. Mormons built a prosperous, self-contained agricultural industry in the valley, which included orchards, vineyards, cotton, grains, and vegetables.
The December 1870 survey placed the valley in Nevada, which meant property owners owed back taxes to Nevada. The settlers, now including those in St. Joseph, (old) Overton, West Point, and Logandale, began leaving two months later. They abandoned the results of 7 years of labor, more than 18 miles of irrigation canal, and several hundred acres of cleared land.
Other Mormons resettled the land in 1880. The area remains one of the most agriculturally productive in the state.
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER NO. 36
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
SOUTHERN NEVADA HISTORICAL SOCIETY