A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Echo Canyon’

Panaca and Pioche, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on July 21, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Landing number 2198; A Landing A Day blog post number 626.

Dan:  Enough already.  Now it’s four OSers in a row, thanks to this landing in . . . NV; 91/79; 4/10; 3; 151.3.  Plus, enough of Nevada, already.  Check this out:

Between landing 2121 and landing 2198 (78 landings), I’ve landed in NV 9 times!  Nine is 11.5% of 78.  Nevada’s area is 110,567 sq mi; that of the lower 48 is 3,061,363 sq. mi.  Nevada’s area is 3.6% of that of the lower 48.  So I’ve landed in Nevada at almost 4 times the rate that I should have over the last 78 landings.  That’s what Over-Subscribed (OS) is all about . . .

(True confessions.  I stole the above paragraph from my last NV landing and just changed the numbers a little and re-did the math.)

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

I zoomed out to show you that this is wide-open country (especially north of my landing):

 landing 2b

Here’s my watershed analysis:

 landing 3

I landed in the watershed of the Meadow Valley Wash.  A wash certainly isn’t a river, but for some reason I’ve been keeping track of my landings in this watershed, and son-of-a-gun, if I haven’t landed here five times, making Meadow Valley Wash the 159th list of “rivers” with five or more hits; on to the Muddy (6th hit); to the Virgin (11th hit); to the Colorado (173rd hit).

The closest Google Earth (GE) Street View shot I could find of the Meadow Valley Wash was way south in Caliente (about 14 miles south of Panaca).  Here ’tis (and it looks a little sad):

GE SV over wash in Caliente

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to lovely southeastern NV:



So, three little towns are all there is in a broad, broad area.  No great hooks; I’ll just wander from town to town, starting with Panaca.  From Wiki:

Panaca was southern Nevada’s first permanent settlement, founded as a Mormon colony in 1864. It is the only community in Nevada to be “dry” (forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages), and the only community in Nevada besides Boulder City that prohibits gambling.

Coke ovens here once produced charcoal for the smelters in nearby Bullionville (now a ghost town), but the town’s economy is predominantly agricultural.

The name “Panaca” comes from the Southern Paiute word Pan-nuk-ker, which means “metal, money, wealth”.

From an article in Nevada Magazine.com by Rachael Williford (entitled “The Tale of two P’s; the other P being Pioche) comes some additional information:

William Hamblin was a Mormon missionary to the Paiute Indian tribe in the Meadow Valley area in eastern Nevada. In 1863, he was presented with a shiny metal specimen discovered in the area.  Hamblin persuaded the Paiutes to show him where the metal was found, and samples were sent to Salt Lake City, verifying the value and the area’s potential. The Paiute word for metal, money, and wealth is “Pan-nuk-ker,” and the town was given its name: Panaca.

I found the name origin quote about the Paiute word for “metal, money, wealth” in numerous references other references to Panaca (always stated as Pan-nuk-ker).  The exact same expression was always used, which made me a little suspicious about the source of the information.  In today’s internet world, someone could come up with something bogus, and then the rest of the world just follows along.  So I rolled up my sleeve to do some independent research on the topic.

First I found this, from the book In Honor of Mary Haas: From the Haas Festival Conference on Native American Linguistics, edited by William Shipley (1986).   An article in the book is “San Juan Southern Paiute Numerals and Mathematics” by Pamela A. Bunte and Robert J. Franklin.

 paiute word for metal, money

Note that “Panaka-r” is the word for “dollar,” and it comes from metal/money.

Then, I found this, from Nevada Place Names, A Geographical Dictionary by Helen S. Carlson (1974):

 paiute word for metal

I think that the most accurate statement is that panaka is basically the Paiute word for “metal.”  It being also the word for money and/or wealth probably came later.  Interesting that John Wesley Powell appeared to coin the definition “metal, money, wealth.”

Bottom line:  The ALAD Truth Patrol verifies the accuracy of the origin of the town’s name.

Now it’s time to move to the second “P” referenced in the Nevada Magazine article, Pioche:

The influence of the Mormon settlers pushed a good portion of fame-seeking, lawless claim jumpers out of the Panaca and the Meadow Valley area. Many headed north to the hype coming from the ledges of Bullionville and further north to Pioche, which was established in 1869, and named for a wealthy French financier who purchased the area’s land.

Now I’ll jump over to the Lincoln County website write-up on Pioche, starting with their picture of the town:


The town rapidly became the largest mining town in southeastern Nevada in the early 1870’s. Population estimates showed 10,000 people by 1871. The town quickly gained fame for its “toughest town” reputation.

Due mostly to confusion over the exact location of mining claims, mine owners resorted to hiring guards. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of about twenty a day during boom times to fight mining claim encroachments. Mine owners often paid the gunmen a salary of $20 per day––a more certain investment for owners than settling disputes in court where bribery often determined the final outcome. The sheriff’s office was reputed to be worth $40,000 a year in bribes alone.

Guns were the only law, and Pioche made Bodie, Tombstone, and other better known towns pale in comparison. It has been reported that seventy-five men were buried in the cemetery before anyone in Pioche had time to die a natural death. According to one reputable source, nearly 60 percent of the homicides reported in Nevada during 1871-72 took place in and around Pioche.

Here’s a video from the PiocheNevada.org website, about Boot Hill:


And a shot of today’s Main Street, from Surgent.net:


Time for GE Panoramio shots.  I noticed a cluster of photo locations north of Panaca:

 GE pano map

This is Cathedral Gorge State Park.  Before pictures, here’s a little geology from the State Park website:

The spires and buff-colored cliffs are the result of geologic processes occurring over tens of millions of years. The beauty enjoyed today had violent beginnings, starting with explosive volcanic activity that, with each eruption, deposited layers of ash hundreds of feet thick. The source of this ash, the Caliente Caldera Complex, lies to the south of Cathedral Gorge.

About five million years after the eruptions ceased, block faulting, a fracture in the bedrock that allows the two sides to move opposite each other, shaped the mountains and valleys prevalent in Nevada today. This faulting formed a depression, now known as Meadow Valley.

Over time, the depression filled with water creating a freshwater lake. Continual rains eroded the exposed ash and pumice left from the volcanic activity, and the streams carried the eroded sediment into the newly formed lake.

The formations, made of silt, clay and volcanic ash, are the remnants of that lake. As the landscape changed and more block faulting occurred, water drained from the lake exposing the volcanic ash sediments to the wind and rain, causing erosion that has sculpted the formations we see today.

Time for some pictures.  I’ll start with this, by Spencer Baugh:

 pano spencer baugh

And this, by Ben Prepelka:

 pano ben prepelka

And this, by Geocheb:

 pano geocheb

And this, by Vitaly Korolev:

 pano vitaly korolev

Closer to my landing, I noticed another cluster of Pano shots:

 GE pano maps

This is Echo Canyon State Park.  I’ll start with Vitaly Korolev, who wandered over here from Cathedral Gorge:

 pano vitaly korolev 2

Here’s one by Nevadadcnr:

pano nevadadcnr

I’ll close with yet another Vitaly shot:

 pano vitaly korolev 3


That’ll do it . . .




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