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An aerial view from March 2005 shows development scattered across the valley floor
Pahrump is a census-designated place (CDP) in Nye Countymarker, Nevadamarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 24,631 as of the 2000 census, making it by far the largest settlement in the county. The town's motto is "Heart of the New Old West". Pahrump is also the location of the closest legal brothels to Las Vegasmarker.


Pahrump was originally inhabited by the Shoshone. It was discovered and slowly inhabited by American settlers in the late 19th century. They reportedly chose the name for the valley which Pahrump is named after the original indigenous name Pah-Rimpi, or "Water Rock," so named because of the abundant artesian well in the valley. Because of these artesian wells, the new inhabitants of Pahrump Valley began a number of large ranch-style holdings, mostly over 1000 acres (4 km²) in size. On these ranches, alfalfa, cotton, and livestock were raised.
View of the mountains from town

Until the 1960s, Pahrump had no telephone service and there were no paved roads in or out of the Pahrump Valley. However, as Las Vegasmarker grew, real estate speculation became more popular in the area, which led to increased interest in Pahrump. This led to the introduction of telephone service and the construction of a paved highway, from Las Vegas to Pahrump, during the late 1960s. Later, this road was extended from Pahrump northward to US 95, near Amargosa Valleymarker. A second paved road was introduced that went from Pahrump to neighboring Shoshonemarker, Californiamarker, which provided a link to the Death Valleymarker area, as well as a shorter route to those wishing to travel to Los Angelesmarker or other areas in California. In 1974, Pahrump's first high school was constructed.

Since the late 1970s, Pahrump has grown almost exponentially, increasing from about 2000 residents in 1980 to almost 25,000 in 2000. Pahrump is an archetypal example of an exurb. Almost all significant agriculture has ceased in the valley , and the surface aquifers have been filled up over the years . Pahrump has also attracted a number of notable residents, including paranormal talk radio host Art Bell, former child star Dick Blue, and Michael Jackson, who purchased a home in the area in 2008, where he briefly had a home studio and home schooled his three children. Notable businesses in the area include Front Sight Firearms Training Institute and Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch , in addition to several legal brothels such as the Chicken Ranchmarker and Sheri's Ranchmarker.

Similar to many communities in Nevada, Pahrump has an unincorporated town status, with a limited government that manages land use planning, recreation, and fire, while leaving most services to Nye County. As of May 2009, The Pahrump town board has set up an advisory board to incorporate Pahrump as a town or even city of its own.

On November 15, 2006, the Pahrump town board voted for an ordinance declaring English the official language of business, forbidding the display of foreign flags and denying any benefits to illegal aliens. A measure in the ordinance requires an American flag to be displayed above any other flag, regardless of what organization, nation or government it represents. This law was repealed on February 13, 2007.


Pahrump, Nevada welcome sign, entering town from Bell Vista Road
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 297.9 square miles (771.5 km²), all of which is land.


Government offices for Pahrump
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,631 people, 10,153 households, and 7,127 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 82.7 people per square mile (31.9/km²). There were 11,651 housing units at an average density of 39.1/sq mi (15.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.02% White, 1.30% African American, 1.29% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.37% Pacific Islander, 2.27% from other races, and 2.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.6% of the population.

There were 10,153 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 102.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $34,860, and the median income for a family was $39,812. Males had a median income of $35,862 versus $21,586 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,708. About 7.3% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

Art Bell

Pahrump is author and radio personality Art Bell's hometown, although he briefly took up residence in the Philippinesmarker in 2006. He is the founder of the Coast to Coast AM radio talk show, which is mainly about paranormal matters. He still hosts it on some weekends, and formerly owned KNYE, the local radio station located in Pahrump.

On the December 28, 2006 broadcast of Coast to Coast AM, Bell announced that he has moved back to Pahrump. His weekend show is being broadcast from his local facilities as it was before. In July 2007, Bell again announced his retirement.

Film history

  • In the movie Rain Man the diner scene and exterior where "Rain Man" himself counts the cards was filmed at a Pahrump bar known for rough fights.
  • In the film Mars Attacks! Martians land in Pahrump and announce that they have "come in peace", but after a dove flies overhead they attack and kill the humans gathered there. (The scene was actually shot in Burns, Kansasmarker, as was most of the film.)
  • Season 2 of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race featured Pahrump's dry lake bed as its starting point.
  • Pahrump was featured in the Aaron Sorkin television drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in a two-part episode titled "Nevada Day". Part One aired November 6, 2006, and Part Two was aired a week later on November 13. The scenes, however, were set only in the town jail and a small diner across the street, and the town itself was not featured, implying that Pahrump was a much smaller town than it is. The town's name was the butt of a running gag with each member of the cast snickering the first time they heard the name.
  • Pahrump was the site of the episode Motorhead of Criss Angel: MindFreak. Filmed at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch, the magician made his custom designed Lamborghini disappear.


Image:View of Pahrump with Mt Charleston.JPG|View of Pahrump from the highway from Shoshonemarker


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