Lincoln County's Fasinating Past - 8 News NOW

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Lincoln County's Fasinating Past

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The many roads of Lincoln County tie pieces of Silver State history together, beginning with the name.

Lincoln County got its name from President Abraham Lincoln, who was shot just before the county was organized. Battle-born during the Civil War, Nevada produced silver for the war effort and gained statehood just six months before Lincoln's assassination.

Lincoln County's biggest town is Caliente. Local resident Jim Bradshaw's family settled there at the time of statehood. "My grandfather was a Civil War veteran, and he wanted to get away from the war, so he came out here," said Bradshaw.

Water from the vast Meadow Valley Wash first attracted Indians to the area and later made it a haven for early ranchers. Even today, the wash feeds hundreds of miles of pastures as it flows across Lincoln County and drains into Lake Mead.

The water helped spur the development of two neighboring towns, Pioche and Panaca. They were settled by Mormons. The farming community of Panaca helped support the rough-and-tumble mining town of Pioche. The railroad that William Clark bought to Caliente in 1903 linked the towns together. He eventually brought the same line to Las Vegas.

When the Meadow Valley Wash flooded in 1910, water swept through Caliente and washed out miles of railroad track. Clark mortgaged his small stone house on Main Street for a whopping $170 million to pay for repairs.

By 1909, the Legislature divided Lincoln County, and William Clark's name became history with the creation of Clark County.

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