The lower Virgin River basin is located about 10 miles south of the border junction between what is now Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Early explorers told of blistering heat, disease-carrying insects, and scarce, evil-tasting water. But in 1877, the valley offered a haven to a small group of Mormon families who sought to live and practice their religious convictions, settling in Bunkerville on the south side of the Virgin River. On the north side, the struggle to establish Mesquite started in 1880. The third attempt in 1894 was successful after years of merciless floods. Residents have survived a hostile environment, geographic isolation, political gerrymandering, and in the middle of the last century, dangerous radiation fallout from atomic testing. Deep sand roads have given way to a bustling interstate highway, and the area has become a golf and gaming destination. After incorporation in 1984, Mesquite experienced a boom and has been named the fastest growing city of its size in the United States.
Author Bio: Author Geraldine White Zarate is a fourth-generation resident of Mesquite. She chairs the Virgin Valley Historical Committee, which took on the project of this book with great enthusiasm and support. The images here have been gathered from the descendants of early settlers and the archives of the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum.
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