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Southern Nevada border town has grown into one of the region’s premier getaways.
If there’s anyone who knows Pahrump, it’s Tim Hafen. After all, he beat paved roads and electricity to the Southern Nevada town.
A former farmer, Hafen came to Pahrump in 1951 to grow cotton and alfalfa. “I would say cotton is what made Pahrump Valley. It enabled us to make a little money to expand, which brought a road, [State Route] 160, from Vegas,” he says. According to Hafen, 1963 brought electricity, and telephone lines followed a few years later. “Now we had the ingredients to start a community.”
Pahrump, 62 miles west of Las Vegas, has indeed grown up, blossoming to a community of more than 30,000. “When I moved out here, there were probably 150 people,” says Hafen, who became a broker in the early 1980s when development began to boom in the area.
Although it might be a stretch, given the population, to call it rural, Pahrump still hasn’t lost its small-town feel. “I can drive all over Pahrump Valley very comfortably, even though we have three traffic lights,” Hafen says sarcastically. “I know a lot of people, and it has a good climate—it cools down in the evenings.”
The town has become a bedroom community for Las Vegas, but Carolene Endersby values its diverse citizenship. “We have spillover from Las Vegas, California, and all points east,” says Endersby, a resident for seven years and a member of the League of Women Voters of Pahrump. “It’s a mix of suburbanites and urbanites woven into the fiber of the old west.”
That perspective helps explain such popular local events as the Frontier Days & Chili Showdown, Gunfighters Gathering, and Wild West Extravaganza & Trail Ride, with the latter two in September. The beloved Fall Festival also occurs in September. The Pahrump Powwow, in November, is one of Nevada’s largest.
As much as it is a nice place to live and retire, it’s also become a great Nevada getaway. Pahrump is one of the state’s more RV-friendly destinations. It boasts six major RV resorts and makes a great base camp for adventures at nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Mount Charleston. The area offers three golf courses, one of which (Furnace Creek) is at 214 feet below sea level.
Along with neighboring Beatty, Pahrump is one of Nevada’s gateways to Death Valley National Park. Furnace Creek, California, the park’s hub, is 57 miles west of Pahrump. En route is the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a fulfilling wildlife-viewing area.
One of the more popular attractions is Pahrump Valley Winery, featuring the fine-dining restaurant Symphony’s and an annual Grape Stomp event. Other destinations at the top of visitors’ lists are the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Pahrump Valley Museum, China Ranch Date Farm, and Tecopa Hot Springs Resort.
Mount Charleston, to the east, was the inspiration for Anthony Alosi’s town song, “West Side of Charley.” Also a former farmer—“Everyone went crazy over our tomatoes,” Alosi gloats—the 21-year Pahrump resident is a general contractor who capitalized on the area’s building boom as well.
In that way, Alosi has contributed to the town’s development into one of Southern Nevada’s most intriguing stops on the road. “When we moved here in 1988, there wasn’t much town to go to,” he says with a laugh.
MEET NEVADA MAGAZINE
On Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26, 2009, Nevada Magazine staff was able to meet and greet visitors at the Pahrump Fall Festival at Petrack Park. Thanks to all who visited our booth.
TOUR AROUND NEVADA
*Nevada Magazine is proud to partner with Virginia City etching company Botcha-Caloop’s in the production of the Tour Around Nevada plaque.