In the 1860s Ike and Dow Barton, two escaped slaves from Arkansas, settled the area where the Meadow Valley Wash and Clover Creek met. By the 1870s the place was known as Dutch Flat, and the Jackman Ranch was established. In 1874, Charles and William Culverwell purchased the ranch and the area became known as Culverwell, shipping hay to the mines at Pioche and Delamar.

In 1901, a dispute began in Culverwell when E.H. Harriman of the Union Pacific began constructing a rail line from Utah. Senator William Clark, of the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad, insisted that the area was their territory. Both companies sought to run rails down a canyon that was wide enough only for one set of tracks. William Culverwell put an end to the dispute with his shotgun, and demanded that as owner of the land only one railroad grade was allowed to be built. The two rivals reconciled in 1903, and Clark's railroad acquired the existing trackage - in return, Union Pacific received 50% ownership. Construction was completed in 1905.

Around this time, Culverwell became known as Calientes after hot springs were found on the property. In 1901, a post office was established and postal officials dropped the 's.' By 1910, Caliente was Lincoln County's largest town, and it had a population of 1755. By the late 1920s, the population reached over 5000 and Caliente was one of the most important division points on the line and a spur was running to Pioche. After the advent of diesel locomotives, Caliente lost much of its usage and in 1948 the division point was moved to Las Vegas. The rail line to Pioche was removed in 1984, and Amtrak discontinued service to Caliente in 1993.

Union Pacific Railroad
EtnaCaliente • Eccles →

See Also
Indian Cove