With a population of about 900 people, Pioche, Nevada is located approximately 180 miles northeast of Las Vegas and is the county seat of Lincoln County.  It was named after François Louis Alfred Pioche, a San Francisco banker/financier who, invested heavily in the area in 1869. Pioche, purchased property and brought in equipment and manpower (in the form of experienced metallurgists) in the pursuit of the silver that had recently been discovered.  The city became know as "Pioche's City" which later became shortened to just "Pioche."

Once silver was discovered, the population of the town began to swell with miners and treasure seekers. As more prospectors drifted into the area, more mining claims were filed and disputes arose as new claims often overlapped prior claims. To protect their claims, mine owners began hiring gunfighters and guns quickly became the only law. By the 1870's, the combination of swelling population and lawlessness earned Pioche the fame of being one of the wildest mining camps.  Locals still revel in the historic image of the 'toughest town' by recounting, with pride, that by the time the first citizen of Pioche had died of natural causes, "Boot Hill" (the town's cemetery) was already filled with seventy-five graves of those who had not.

By 1871, the town's population increased in relation to the growing mining operations and it became the most important mining town in southeastern Nevada. 

However, while the town's wealth increased Francois Pioche's did not. Sometime in the late 1860's or early 1870's, he and his firm became financially overextended. His problems grew until, on May 2, 1872 the San Francisco banker and financier finally put a pistol to his head and committed suicide.

By 1876, the major mines were played out and were closed leading to a gradual "downsizing" of the town and population. A second mining boom took place during World War II when the efforts of local miners made Pioche the second largest lead and zinc producer in the nation. However, after the war the demand for those metals subsided and Pioche returned to its sleepy ways.

Sources and Additional Off Site Reading:
San Francisco Banker and Financier, Francois Louis Alfred Pioche
History of Lincoln County
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioche C_Nevada

Mining TramFun Facts
Pioche sits at an elevation of 6,076 feet..

The latitude of Pioche is 37.929N. The longitude is -114.451W.

The local courthouse is known as the "Million Dollar Courthouse." Built in 1871, its $88,000 price tag far exceeded initial estimates of $26,400 causing the town to finance and refinance the difference with bonds totaling nearly $1 million.

Francis Walker built an ore tram in the mid 19th century which stretches across the mountains surrounding the city. The tram navigates up and down various mountains using only gravity to power its carts uphill.

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