Latitude / Longitude:
36° 27′ 57″ N, 114° 22′ 13″ W
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
St. Thomas, Nevada is a ghost town in Clark County, Nevada, near where the Muddy River flows into the Colorado River. St. Thomas was purchased by the US Federal Government and abandoned as the waters of Lake Mead submerged the town in the 1930s. However, as the level of Lake Mead dropped in the 2000s, the ruins of the town resurfaced. It is now located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
The town was founded by Mormon settlers led by Thomas Smith in 1865. With a population of about 500 at its peak, St. Thomas became an established town of farms and businesses, and was at one point the county seat of Pahute County. The frontier settlement is noted as the endpoint of explorer John Wesley Powell’s first Colorado River expedition, the Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869.
The ruins of St. Thomas, which became visible after the water level in Lake Mead lowered, are protected by the National Park Service as a historic site. The cemetery was relocated to Overton, Nevada where there is a St. Thomas interpretive center with a staff archaeologist doing on-going research into the history and settlement of the Muddy River.
When the Mormons left in 1871, others claimed their abandoned properties. One of the few to remain was Daniel Bonelli of St. Thomas, who farmed, mined and owned Bonelli’s Ferry on the Colorado River at Junction City later Rioville. After being deserted by most of its first settlers, new Mormon settlers came to the St. Thomas and other places in the area in the 1880s. The construction of Hoover Dam and the resulting rise in the waters of the Colorado River forced the abandonment of the town, with the last resident, Hugh Lord, leaving June 11, 1938.