Pahrump, Nevada

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Town of Pahrump
Unincorporated town
Official seal of Town of Pahrump
Motto(s): Your Base Camp to Adventure
Location of Pahrump in Nye County
Location of Pahrump in Nye County
Coordinates: 36°12′31″N 116°0′43″W / 36.20861°N 116.01194°W / 36.20861; -116.01194
Country United States
State  Nevada
County Nye
 • Type Nye County Commission
 • Town Manager/County Manager Pam Webster
 • 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 UTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes 89041, 89048, 89060, 89061
Area code(s) 775
FIPS code 32-53800
GNIS feature ID 0845593

Pahrump (/pəˈrʌmp/) is an unincorporated town in Nye County, Nevada, United States.[2] As of 2010 the population was 36,441, making it the largest settlement in the county.


Pahrump was originally inhabited by the Southern Paiute. It was slowly inhabited by 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 the 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.[citation needed] 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, Pahrump Valley High School, was constructed.

Since the late 1970s, Pahrump has grown almost exponentially, increasing from about 2,000 residents in 1980 to 32,000 in 2017. Pahrump is an archetypal example of an exurb. Almost all significant agriculture has grown in the valley[3], and the surface aquifers have been filled up over the years.

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.[citation needed]

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 never repealed.

On November 4, 2017, Koenigsegg Automotive AB achieved the highest top speed of a production car ever, surpassing the Bugatti Veyron. The Koenigsegg Agera RS reached a top speed of 277.9 mph on Nevada State Route 160.

Geography and climate[edit]

Pahrump, Nevada welcome sign

According to the United States Census Bureau, the census-designated place of Pahrump 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 contiguous United States, 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) 79
Average high °F (°C) 57.4
Average low °F (°C) 27.0
Record low °F (°C) 4
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.65
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.2
Source: [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 census-designated place (CDP) of Pahrump. 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.


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.[citation needed] but the town opposition was too great and any plans to incorporate Pahrump were dropped. 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 was finalized in 2014 when the incumbent elected members' terms expired.[6] Per the Town of Pahrump website, the elected Pahrump Town Board was disbanded as of January 5, 2015.[7]

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


The town has 8 educational institutions (including one adult education area); Manse Elementary, Hafen Elementary, Floyd Elementary, J.G. Johnson Elementary, Rosemary Clark Middle School, Community Christian Academy and Pahrump Valley High School, all of which are covered by the Nye County School District.


Notable businesses in the area include Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, the Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch, and the former Dragon Cloud Dojo, which closed March 1, 2016.[8] In addition, there are wineries, including Sander's Family Winery and Pahrump Valley Winery.[citation needed]

Two legal brothels, Sheri's Ranch and Chicken Ranch, are located in Pahrump. Due to their proximity to Las Vegas, they tend to be more expensive than other legal brothels in Nevada. Sheri's Ranch[9] is the larger of the two, and may have upwards of 20 prostitutes on its premises at any given time.


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. Pahrump has taxi service operating 24 hours a day.

Notable residents[edit]

Pahrump was the hometown of author and renowned radio personality Art Bell. He was known for founding Coast to Coast AM, an overnight radio talk show mainly about paranormal subjects, conspiracies and other oddities, a program that he broadcast from his home studio. At one time, Bell owned KNYE, the local radio station located in Pahrump. After the death of his wife Ramona, Bell remarried and relocated to the Philippines. 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.[citation needed] In July 2015, Art Bell returned to the airwaves with a new show, Midnight in the Desert, which aired weeknights in a three-hour time slot. The show covers much of the same material as Coast to Coast AM. Bell retired from the show in December 2015. Bell died on April 13, 2018 in Pahrump.

Michael Jackson purchased a home in the area in 2008, where he briefly had a home studio and home schooled his three children.[10]

Pahrump is the home of the third co-founder of Apple Computer, Ronald Wayne. Wayne relinquished his equity in Apple for US$800 in 1976;[11][12] he now lives a quiet lifestyle in Pahrump,[13][14] selling stamps and rare coins.

The popular post-hardcore band Escape the Fate was founded in and originally from Pahrump,[15][16] before the band relocated to Las Vegas.

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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.[citation needed]
  • The film Lady Magdalene's 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 Institute. 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.[17] 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.[18] The Special Feature video originally broadcast on KPVM preceding the TV premiere is on YouTube.[19]
  • The TV series Get Shorty is partly set in Pahrump.[20] The city is the home town of main character Miles Daly, played by Chris O'Dowd.

See also[edit]

  • Carpenter Canyon Road leads from Pahrump to Carpenter Canyon and Carpenter Canyon Creek


  1. ^ "Pahrump Town Board". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  2. ^ "Nye County Code - Title 20: Pahrump". Sterling Codifiers. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  3. ^ "NYE County Water Resources Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  4. ^ "PAHRUMP, NEVADA (265890)". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "Nevada High Court Upholds vote to disband Pahrump Town Board". Las Vegas Review Journal. 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  7. ^ "Town of Pahrump". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  8. ^ "Dragon Cloud Dojo Closing After 12 Years". Pahrump Valley Times. 2016-02-12. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  9. ^ "Sheri's Ranch Lineup". 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Wozniak, Steve. "Letters-General Questions Answered". Steve Wozniak official site. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Scroll down to third letter.
  12. ^ Simon, Dan (June 24, 2010). "The gambling man who co-founded Apple and left for $800". CNN. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010. Wayne left Apple for only $800. "What can I say? You make a decision based on your understanding of the circumstances, and you live with it," he said.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "Pahrump Nevada Man Could Have Been Apple Billionaire now lives in Mobile Home Park". June 25, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  15. ^ "About the Members". Escape The Fate. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  16. ^ Heemsoth, Erik (August 6, 2014). "The Countdown To The 2014 Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival Has Begun!". National Rock Review. Retrieved 2018-10-20. Formed in Pahrump, Nevada in 2004, Escape The Fate received their first big break when they won a local radio contest judged by My Chemical Romance.
  17. ^ "Lady Magdalene's (2008)". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  18. ^ "Lady Magdalene's Credits". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  19. ^ "Lady Magdalene's KPVM TV Halloween 2011 Premiere Pre-Show". YouTube. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  20. ^ Lawrence, Christopher (August 12, 2017). "TV series 'Get Shorty' partially set in Pahrump". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-20.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°12′31″N 116°0′43″W / 36.20861°N 116.01194°W / 36.20861; -116.01194