IF NOT FOR THE VAGARIES OF POLITICS, THE GAMBLING MECCA OF THE WORLD MIGHT HAVE BEEN IN PIOCHE
Rising out of desert haze in distant improbability, etching a jagged, fantasy line on the far horizon, America's shimmering oasis in the warm desert, as close to Mecca as a lot of people think you can get. This is...Las Vegas.
Las Vegas, Nevada. At one time all this land that all this glitter and glamour and current residence of a really fickle Lady Luck sits on now...belonged to...Arizona. Long story short, all of what is now Clark County, including Las Vegas, used to be part of Arizona's Mohave County, then was split west of the Colorado River and called Pah-ute County. In 1866, though, Congress gave Pah-Ute County to the new state of Nevada,
Marshall Trimble, an affable history Professor at Grand Canyon College in Phoenix and pretty much considered Arizona’s official Historian, said, "We lost the county just a few months after we got the county. Nevada, having more political pull, took it away. They were a state already and Arizona was a territory.”
But Nevada forgot to amend the official boundaries in their state constitution. So every now and then since 1866 someone claims Las Vegas is still in Arizona. It never does any good.
"No, it makes a good joke and it's a good thing to speculate on, and that's all it is, is just a joke,” Marshall said. “I always like to think, if we'd have kept Pah-ute County, Bugsy Segal might have had to go somewhere else, like, maybe to Pioche."
Pioche, Nevada (pea-oach) is about 180 miles north of Las Vegas and not on any beaten path by any stretch of the imagination...
"Can you imagine having the gambling center of the world in Pioche, Nevada?" Marshall laughs.
However, if you want to try to reclaim Las Vegas, Arizona, you'll have to go along way to beat the most persistent reclaimer of them all, the man who was the Arizona State Legislator from Pah-Ute County, Octavius Gass. Ah, what a great name for a politician. TWO years after Pah-Ute County became a part of Nevada, Gass left Las Vegas, rowed for days down the Colorado river to Yuma, then got on a stage coach to attend the Arizona Legislature in Tucson. It didn't do any good.
So, every time I come to Pioche, Nevada, well, actually, the one time I ever came to Pioche, Nevada, I stopped for a few minutes and speculated how this place MIGHT have looked if Bugsy Siegal and a lot of...Pioche Showgirls...had come here.
Pioche, again, is 180 miles north of Las Vegas on highway 93. For being out in the middle of nowhere, it's actually a pleasant little place with some interesting mining history and worth spending some time looking around...IF...you happen to be going that way. It might make an interesting "backroads" route between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Stop and visit Great Basin National Park and ride the old train at Ely, Nevada. The town has a website at: www.piochenevada.com.