Moapa Valley was first settled by Mormons in 1865, and a number of small towns were established. Among these were St. Joseph, St. Thomas, Overton, Simonsville, and West Point. Most of these were abandoned in the early 1870s, after a survey showed that the valley was actually in Nevada and not Utah or Arizona. In 1873, a 39,000 square mile area was set aside as an Indian Reservation. By 1875, however, new settlement reduced the Reservation's land to only 1,000 acres.

In 1906 or 1907, a railroad station called Moapa was created by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad along the line from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. In 1912, a spur was completed from Moapa to St. Thomas and the lower Moapa Valley, a distance of about 22 miles. Moapa prospered as a shipping point for nearby gypsum mines until the advent of automotive trucking spelled its eventual demise.

A handful of old wooden buildings remained at the Moapa station until about 2007, when they were removed. The railroad spur is still periodically in use, and a modern coal power plant just to the south contributed to rail traffic until it closed in 2017. Just north of the former railroad station, farming continues and a modern town of Moapa exists.

San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad


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