By Selwyn Harris
A little bit of spring cleaning at the town office last month revealed an interesting bit of information.
The town of Pahrump will reach a milestone by turning 50, come July.
Town Manager Bill Kohbarger said Town Board Chair Vicky Parker discovered the revelation while she was going through some old documents just recently.
“Mrs. Parker was in our office doing some work for us and volunteering her time when she found an old resolution that said the town was created in July 18, 1962 so we are coming up on our 50th birthday. Mrs. Parker and Harley Kulkin got together and that it would be a good idea to put it on the town board agenda to talk about it and possibly hold a birthday party for the Town of Pahrump and I think it’s a great idea,” he said.
Kulkin, meanwhile, noted that Parker’s keen eyes have led to plans for a community-wide celebration.
“We were talking about a big potluck picnic in the park. We would like to do something where it would be free to the public. With the children, we are trying to come up with some ideas that will have a really good event focused on the history of Pahrump. A lot of the history is really getting lost and forgotten,” he said.
Board Member Mike Darby is also in agreement that some type of celebration should held to observe the town’s 50th anniversary.
“I think it’s great. We need something like this. We need more celebrations; We need more reasons to take pride in our community. I look at this as a real positive thing,” Darby said.
Darby’s colleague, Dr. Tom Waters said the board is currently brainstorming to develop plans for the celebration.
“We’re going to get with Vicky to see what ideas she has. We want something just to show that we are proud of Pahrump. I don’t think anything is set in stone so far,” he said.
Waters noted that he was in the United States Air Force when Pahrump became a town.
“At the time I had been in for two years. I joined in 1960 and retired in 1997,” he said.
He also had special message for Pahrump on her 50th birthday.
“We are proud of what Pahrump has become. We are proud of the citizens here that make Pahrump what Pahrump is and I’m just proud to be a citizen and a resident. 50 years ago, I didn’t know anything about Pahrump and even 10 years ago I didn’t know anything about Pahrump. From the day I saw Pahrump, it just made a big impression on me and later on when my wife and I decided to settle down in Pahrump, we are very pleased with that decision and we are very pleased with it today,” he said.
Parker said on Wednesday that finding the resolution was just a fluke because it wasn’t something she was looking for at the time.
“I just happened to noticed that the date was 1962, and that’s 50 years. I looked at it and said wow, 50 years,” she said.
Parker also noted that in order to pull off the celebration in grand style, local volunteers are a crucial part of the effort which will be celebrated three days after the actual resolution date.
“I can tell you that it’s going to be on July 21 at Petrack Park. Other than that we are going to work out a plan with Bill Kohbarger and he’s going to bring it back on the next agenda,” she said.
Parker noted that in 1962, she was still attending high school in Nebraska.
In part, the Town of Pahrump resolution stated,
“It appearing to the Board of Nye County Commissioners that a petition has been filed with said Board requesting the creation of the unincorporated Town of Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada in Accordance with NRS 269.010(2), and requesting the application of NRS Chapter 269 to the area defined in said petition.”
The resolution was signed by three members of the Board of County Commissioners along with the board’s clerk.
The surnames of the signees may ring a familiar tone to some longtime members of the community; Eason, Banovitch, and Murphy to name a few.
Local real estate developer Tim Hafen has lived in Pahrump since 1951.
Hafen said he personally knew all of the county commissioners at that time.
He also noted that local politics and people’s thought processes were much different then than they are now, especially when it meant increasing the town’s revenue for various services and infrastructure.
“On one of the first town boards, was a push for the issue that allowed us to form an unincorporated town district so that we could tax ourselves and I think that this is important. Local people actually voted to tax themselves so they could build a community building because we didn’t have any place to hold a public meeting. None. There wasn’t any Nugget or Saddle West. We had a need. We had to have a public place to have a meeting and the citizens actually petitioned the county commissioners for an unincorporated town district so we could tax ourselves to build that community building,” he recalled.
The building Hafen was referring to is the Bob Ruud Community Center, which was constructed more than 40 years ago.
Hafen also lended his personal thoughts on the future of Pahrump.
“I’d really like to see the town come together in a united effort to get along and to promote the growth of the town in a very positive way,” he said.
Hafen highlighted his vision of sensible growth with a personal anecdote from the time he first arrived in Pahrump.
“In the 50’s, if I broke a fan belt on my pickup I’d have to take a tractor to the neighbor’s place to see if he knew of anybody who was going to Vegas to buy me a fan belt. I wanted the opportunity to buy a fan belt in Pahrump or a battery, or parts for my tractors.
You couldn’t buy anything until somebody went to Vegas. It was also a dirt road and a very strenuous road,” he said.
The Shoshone Native American Tribe originally inhabited Pahrump which was discovered by American settlers in the latter part of the 19th century.
Pahrump got its name from what was originally known as Pah-Rimpi, or “Water Rock” which describes the abundance of Artesian wells in the valley.
Those wells helped to irrigate crops of alfalfa, and cotton grown by farmers who eventually settled in the Pahrump Valley.