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Pahrump, Nevada

Town of Pahrump
Unincorporated town
Official seal of Town of Pahrump
Motto: Your Base Camp to Adventure
Location of Pahrump in Nye County
Location of Pahrump in Nye County
Country United States
State  Nevada
County Nye
 • Type Town Board-Manager
 • Town Board Harley Kulkin
William Dolan
Amy Riches
Robert Adams
Tom Waters[1]
 • Town Manager Susan Holecheck
 • Total 364 sq mi (771.5 km2)
 • Land 364 sq mi (771.5 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,697 ft (822 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 36,441
 • Density 100/sq mi (47/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 89041, 89048, 89060, 89061
Area code(s) 775
FIPS code 32-53800
GNIS feature ID 0845593

Pahrump is a census-designated place (CDP) and an unincorporated town in Nye County, Nevada, United States. As of 2010 the population was 36,441, making it the largest settlement in the county.


  • History 1
  • Geography and climate 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Politics 4
  • Education 5
  • Economy 6
    • Transport 6.1
    • Art Bell 6.2
    • Ted Binion 6.3
    • Ronald Wayne 6.4
    • Film history 6.5
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Pahrump was originally inhabited by the Shoshone. It was slowly inhabited by American settlers in the late 19th century. They reportedly chose the name for Pahrump after the original indigenous name Pah-Rimpi, or "Water Rock," so named because of the abundant artesian wells in the valley. Because of the artesian wells, the new inhabitants of Pahrump Valley began a number of large ranch-style holdings, mostly over 1000 acres (4 km²) in size. On these ranches, alfalfa and cotton were grown, and livestock were raised.

View of the mountains from town

Until the 1960s, Pahrump had no telephone service except a radio transmitter phone in a phone booth next to the small market, and there were no paved roads in or out of the Pahrump Valley. However, as Las Vegas grew, real estate speculation became more popular in the area, which led to increased interest in Pahrump. This led to the introduction of telephone service and the construction of a paved highway, from Las Vegas to Pahrump, during the late 1960s. Later, this road (NV 160) was extended from Pahrump northward to US 95, near Amargosa Valley. A second paved road (NV 372) was introduced that went from Pahrump to neighboring Shoshone, California, which provided a link to the Death Valley area, as well as a shorter route to those wishing to travel to Los Angeles or other areas in California. In the fifties and sixties, there was a two room elementary school and the high school students went to Shoshone. In 1974, Pahrump's first high school was constructed.

Since the late 1970s, Pahrump has grown almost exponentially, increasing from about 2,000 residents in 1980 to 36,000 in 2010. Pahrump is an archetypal example of an exurb. Almost all significant agriculture has ceased in the valley[2] and the surface aquifers have been filled up over the years. Pahrump has also attracted a number of notable residents, including paranormal talk radio host Art Bell, and Michael Jackson, who purchased a home in the area in 2008, where he briefly had a home studio and home schooled his three children.[3]

Notable businesses in the area include Front Sight Firearms Training Institute and Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch, in addition to several legal brothels such as the Chicken Ranch and Sheri's Ranch, and wineries including Sander's Family Winery and Pahrump Valley Winery.

Like many communities in Nevada, Pahrump has an unincorporated town status, with a limited government that manages land use planning, recreation, and fire, while leaving most services to Nye County. In May 2009, the town board set up an advisory board to study incorporating Pahrump as a town or city.

On November 15, 2006, the Pahrump town board voted for an ordinance declaring English the official language of business, forbidding the display of foreign flags and denying any benefits to illegal aliens. A measure in the ordinance requires an American flag to be displayed above any other flag, regardless of what organization, nation or government it represents. This law was repealed on February 13, 2007. In 2012 the citizens of Pahrump voted to disband the Town Board form of government in favor of becoming an advisory board under the County Commissioners. It will be finalized in 2014 when the incumbent elected members' terms expire.

Geography and climate

Pahrump, Nevada welcome sign

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 297.9 sq mi (771.5 km2), all of which is land. By area, it is the largest CDP in the United States outside of Alaska, although it ranks only eleventh nationally, since the largest ten are all in Alaska. The area lies in the Mojave Desert.

Climate data for Pahrump
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
Average high °F (°C) 58
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) 11
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.70
Source: The Weather Channel[4]


Government offices for Pahrump

As of the census of 2000,[5] there were 24,631 people, 10,153 households, and 7,127 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 82.7 people per square mile (31.9/km²). There were 11,651 housing units at an average density of 39.1 per square mile (15.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 86.1% White, 2.1% African American, 1.1% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.37% Pacific Islander, 2.27% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.9% of the population.

There were 10,153 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 102.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $34,860, and the median income for a family was $39,812. Males had a median income of $35,862 versus $21,586 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,708. About 7.3% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over. Nye County receives an unusually large 29 percent of its income from federal benefits which amounts to $9,408 for each resident of the county.


James Oscarson (R) Represents the 36th district for the Nevada Assembly.


The town has 8 educational institutions (including 1 adult education area), all of which are covered by the Nye County School District.



There is no local bus public transportation in Pahrump. Residents, and those visiting Pahrump, utilize McCarran International Airport in the Las Vegas area, approximately 60 miles east of Pahrump. A private airport, Calvada Meadows Airport, also serves Pahrump, however, aircraft must request permission before landing at this small airport. Enterprise Rent-A-Car operates a local branch for vehicle rental needs.

Art Bell

Pahrump is author and radio personality Art Bell's hometown, although he briefly took up residence in the Philippines in 2006. He founded Coast to Coast AM, a radio talk show mainly about paranormal matters. He formerly owned KNYE, the local radio station located in Pahrump. On the December 28, 2006 broadcast of Coast to Coast AM, Bell announced he had returned to Pahrump, but he later returned to the Philippines, where he resided until 2011, when he again returned to Pahrump. Bell hosted Art Bell's Dark Matter, also dealing with paranormal subject matter, which aired on SiriusXM, from his home in Pahrump.

Ted Binion

A wealthy Las Vegas casino owner, Ted Binion, buried a large treasure of silver in a secret underground vault in Pahrump. In 1998 Binion died under suspicious circumstances and one of the parties accused of murdering Binion was apprehended while digging up the vault in Pahrump. A book about the Binion murder trial (and Las Vegas poker) is Positively Fifth Street by James McManus.

Ronald Wayne

Pahrump is the home of the third co-founder of Apple Computer, Ronald Wayne. Wayne now lives a quiet lifestyle there,[6][7] selling stamps and rare coins.

Film history

  • In the film Mars Attacks! Martians land in Pahrump and announce they have "come in peace", but soon kill most of the humans gathered there.
  • Pahrump was featured in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in a two-part episode titled "Nevada Day". Part One aired November 6, 2006, and Part Two was aired a week later on November 13. The scenes, however, were set only in the town jail and a small diner across the street, and the town itself was not featured, implying that Pahrump is much smaller than it actually is.
  • The film-festival-award-winning 2010 independent feature film Lady Magdalene's starring Nichelle Nichols was filmed at various Pahrump locations including the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Gambling Hall, Desert View Medical Center, Nye County Court House, the Winery and Symphony Restaurant, and Front Sight Firearms Training. A brothel set based on The Chicken Ranch was constructed at the Pahrump home of Jim and Alice Eychaner, who made the location available to the production company for a fee of $1.00 to help promote the town.[8] The movie made its television premiere on Pahrump broadcast TV station KPVM on Halloween, 2011. The film's writer/director/producer, J. Neil Schulman, who played the role of "Ali the American" in the film, owned a vacation home in Pahrump at the time of its production in 2006 and moved to Pahrump full-time in December 2008. The film cast many local actors.[9] The Special Feature video originally broadcast on KPVM preceding the TV premiere is on YouTube.[10]

See also

  • Carpenter Canyon, Carpenter Canyon road leads from Pahrump to Carpenter Canyon and Carpenter Canyon Creek


  1. ^ "Pahrump Town Board". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  2. ^ "NYE County Water Resources Plan". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  3. ^ Smith, Ethan (2008-06-13). "Michael Jackson: The Next Elvis?". The Wall Street Journal. p. W1. Retrieved 2008-06-13. Recently the singer had been living in Pahrump, Nev., an unincorporated town 60 miles west of Las Vegas, where he had been writing new songs in a home studio and having his three children (ages 11, 10 and 6) home-schooled. 
  4. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". The Weather Channel. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  6. ^ "Pahrump Nevada Man Could Have Been Apple Billionaire - Pahrump Mobile Home Park and Pahrump RV Park — Pahrump Mobile Home Park and Pahrump RV Park". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  7. ^ "Pahrump Nevada Man Could Have Been Apple Billionaire now lives in Mobile Home Park". June 25, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Lady Magdalene's (2008)". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  9. ^ "Lady Magdalene's Credits". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  10. ^ "Lady Magdalene's KPVM TV Halloween 2011 Premiere Pre-Show". YouTube. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 

External links

  • Town website

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