Overton was originally settled in 1869 with Helaman Pratt serving as branch president. A regular LDS branch was organized there in 1883. In the 1880s, Overton was the location of the only store in the lower Moapa Valley and attracted people from neighboring localities who arrived in Overton to buy supplies. In the 1930s, the town of St. Thomas was submerged by water as Lake Mead was being filled, and the majority of its population relocated to Overton. After that, Overton developed as the main core of the business community in the lower Moapa Valley. It also hosted most of the social events in the area.
Nevada Historical Marker 41 . . . Located on State Route 169 two miles south of Overton, Nevada.
Indians of a highly developed civilization lived throughout Moapa Valley from 300-1100 A.D. Several hundred ancient pithouses, campsites, rockshelters, salt mines and caves of Anasazi people make up what is commonly known as “Lost City.” These people cultivated corn, beans and squash in fields irrigated by river water. They also gathered wild seeds and fruits and hunted widely for deer, antelope, desert bighorn sheep, small mammals and birds. They wove fine cotton cloth, fired beautifully painted and textured pottery and mined and traded salt and turquoise to coastal tribes for seashells. Early dwellings were circular pithouses below ground; later dwellings above ground were single-story adobes having up to 100 rooms.
Lake Mead, created by Hoover Dam, flooded the most intensively developed portion of Lost City.
The Lost City Museum occupies a little knoll just south of Overton. This region was once a westernmost outpost of the Anasazi, the Ancient Ones, and the museum exhibits one of the most complete collections of artifacts of the early Pueblo Indians in the Southwest. The exhibit begins with the mammoth hunters of the Desert Culture 10,000 years ago, then continues through successive phases of Pueblo culture as their settlements grew up along the river courses where they farmed. They built irrigation canals, and homes like hives of mud and sticks. Most of their structures were modest, but some were immense and complex. The largest found at “El Pueblo Grande de Nevada” — Lost City — had 94 rooms.
Twelve hundred years ago their flourishing villages stretched up the Virgin and the Muddy Rivers, with El Pueblo Grande de Nevada dominating the peninsula at the joining of the rivers. Five hundred years later they had abandoned their homes and farms and gone.
The exhibits continue with the Paiute people who still live in the area, and with the Mormon farmers who were the first of the present migratory wave to arrive from the east.
In addition to the exhibits, and the store selling nice examples of Native American workmanship, a small Pueblo residence cluster was constructed on an original foundation as a CCC project during the 1930s. It is as exact a replica as governmental hands can build, and as long as you don’t climb on the fragile tops of the structures, you can crawl inside and see life from the Anasazi perspective.