Dennis Cassinelli: Mesquite, fastest growing community in 2020
Mesquite is in Clark County, adjacent to the Arizona state line and 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. As of 2015, the U.S. Census estimates that the city had a population of 17,904. Since then, the population has increased over 2 percent every year.
The city is located in the Virgin River Valley adjacent to the Virgin Mountains in the northeastern part of the Mojave Desert. It is home to a growing retirement community, as well as several casino resorts and golf courses. About 15 years ago, my neighbors in Dayton, Bob and Vivian, informed me they were moving to Mesquite to retire.
Several years ago, I worked in Mesquite, preparing the final report on the last NDOT I-15 Freeway project before the Nevada/Utah line. I was surprised at my neighbors’ decision to move. I hand not even thought of Mesquite as a place to retire at that time but things had obviously changed during the time since NDOT completed the I-15 freeway across what we called the “Mormon Mesa” when I had worked there.
I have visited Mesquite more recently on my way to visit the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and the town of Saint George in Utah.
The rapid growth of Mesquite is due to development of golf courses, hotels and casinos that attract tourists and business growth to the community. Mesquite now has several major golf courses, including Conestoga, Wolf Creek, Coyote Springs and others. In addition, the town has several major hotels that offer first class accommodations for tourists. There is also a growing community of permanent residents attracted to the desert climate and lifestyle living in Mesquite.
Within just a few miles of Mesquite are three other National Parks, including Capitol Reef, Canyon Lands and Arches. I know I have drifted away somewhat from Nevada in this article but there are so many National parks to see near Mesquite, I just wanted to mention them.
Meanwhile back in Nevada, there are many Nevada state parks to visit within a close proximity of Mesquite for visitors to explore.
These include Cathedral Gorge State Park, Spring Valley State Park, Echo Canyon State Park, Kershaw-Ryan State Park, Elgin Schoolhouse State Park, and Spring Valley State Park, all in Lincoln County. In Clark County South of I-15 is the Valley of Fire State Park. I have visited most of these and I highly recommend travelers to southeastern Nevada to explore all these places. While you are in the region, you may or may not want to pay a visit to the old Mormon town of Panaca. It is the only community in Nevada that is “dry” meaning it prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages and gambling.
By contrast, very near Panaca is the old ghost town of Pioche, Nevada. In the 1860s, Pioche was the baddest town in the west; badder than Tombstone, Dodge City and all the others. It was so bad 72 people died violently before one died a natural death. Today, it is an interesting Nevada ghost town to visit with many original buildings still intact.
Dennis Cassinelli is a Dayton author and historian. You can order his books at a discount on his blog at denniscassinelli.com.