A SUNKEN GHOST IN SOUTHERN NEVADA
Though there are many ghost towns throughout the desert southwest, the historic St. Thomas town site, at the far southern end of the Moapa Valley, is unique. It was underwater for over 65 years!
This bustling pioneer community became the victim of progress during the Great Depression era. The construction of Hoover Dam and the resulting rise in the waters of Lake Mead forced the abandonment of this town of about 500 people; with the last resident leaving in 1938.
St. Thomas was founded by Mormon settlers in 1865 near the point where the Muddy and Virgin Rivers combine before flowing into the mighty Colorado River. The town grew to become an established community of farms and businesses. A spur of the railroad stopped in St. Thomas which made it a place that served the interests of miners and prospectors in the region.
Prolonged drought conditions in the west have caused water levels at Lake Mead to drop. Little by little, the old town site has emerged once again on dry ground. Visitors can now hike a moderate two-mile loop to view the ruins of the old town.
Wandering around the old buildings, foundations and tree-stump lined streets; it is easy to visualize what this crossroads community must have looked like at the turn of the 20th century with its train station, miners and prospectors, farmers and railroad workers; a scene typical of the final stages of the old west.
The St. Thomas Town Site is located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The small community of downtown Overton is only six miles up the road and offers all services.