St. Thomas - 04/05/2012 Trip Notes

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04/05/2012 Trip Notes: This was my second visit to this town in four months. This three-mile hike provides the perfect opportunity to stroll walk back in time and use your imagination to envision what life was like before the waters of Lake Mead covered this small farming and railroad community; of days when schoolboys climbed the fruit trees and its fields were filled with orchards and grains. Though I had been  hopeful that I would be able to capture some budding plants and flowers, it was still too early in the spring. I did however, locate a few major foundations that I had missed on my previous visit here. One for the Gentry Hotel (#34 above) and one for the Gentry residence (#31 above). Even though I didn't capture a lot of new pictures, it was still an enjoyable day.

The Gentry Hotel (#34 on the map in Fig. 01): The burgeoning town of St Thomas gained attention in the 1910's when Arrowhead Trail, the first automobile road between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, traversed through the Valley of Fire and stopped in St. Thomas. Tourists staying at the Gentry Hotel (top left below) also supported several other businesses in town including a garage (next door to the hotel), cafĂ©, ice cream parlor and a grocery store. About the same time, the Union Pacific railroad built a branch down the valley and used St Thomas as a terminus, between 1910 and 1918 it was a busy frontier town. During the First World War the price of copper rose and with thousands of head of stock being freighted from St Thomas to Grand Gulch mine things really got lively. Unfortunately, the economic boon from tourism was short-lived. In the early 1920s, the bridge across Virgin River burned, and the road was moved to a more northern route across Mormon Mesa.

The picture in the upper right of the polyptych below (Fig. 02) shows the foundation of the window bay at the front of the hotel, as well as a scattering of some of the exteriors’ remaining bricks. The bottom pictures show some exposed plumbing and what appears to be a cistern at the rear of the building. Today, hikers tend to group found artifacts (bottom right) reminiscent of the time along foundations walls or sections of concrete.
St. Thomas Gentry Hotel.
(Fig. 02)

Home of Sam Gentry (#31 on the map in Fig. 01): The remains of Sam Gentry’s house is one of the largest single family homes to be found on the site (Fig. 03). From what I can gather, he was the son of Harry Gentry. It is located directly across the street from the Gentry Hotel, which his father built. Just down the street from the hotel are the remains of the Harry Gentry General Merchandise store.
St Thomas Gentry Home
(Fig. 03)

Below are a few “snaps” of today’s hikers from Henderson’s Heritage Park Senior Facility, mixed in with a couple flowers (a purple Phacelia on the bottom), a Western Whiptail Lizard and what was a rather grose dead cow.  We had no idea where he would have come from or how he might have died. As we were hiking towards this area, we noticed 4-5 turkey vultures flying overhead that took of for parts unknown as soon as we arrived. (Click on any picture to enlarge - then use your browser's back button to return to this page)

After leaving St. Thomas, we headed to north to Overton, Nevada for a visit to the Lost City Museum to learn more about the history and culture of this area. Click here to view pictures and obtain more information on the museum ... Lost City Museum.

Return to previous summary page [St Thomas Nevada - Summary Page]