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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. 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. The Mormons abandoned St. Thomas in February 1871, as a land survey shifted the state line of Nevada one degree longitude to the east, placing all of the Mormon settlements known as the Muddy Mission in Nevada instead of Arizona or Utah. The state of Nevada then attempted to collect taxes for previous years payable only in gold from the residents. They chose to leave without paying in 1871. The Mormons moved to Utah, where many of them founded new towns in Long Valley (present day Glendale, Orderville, and Mount Carmel).
When the Mormons left, others claimed their abandoned properties. 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.
The ruins of St. Thomas, which are 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.
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