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View of Nelson, from the west
|• Total||4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2)|
|• Land||4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|• Density||7.7/sq mi (3.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
Nelson is a census-designated place in Clark County, Nevada, United States, in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The community is in the Pacific Standard Time zone. The location of Nelson is in El Dorado Canyon, Eldorado Mountains. The town is in the southeast region of the Eldorado Valley. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 37.
Nelson is located along Nevada State Route 165, about 8 miles (13 km) southeast of its junction with U.S. Route 95. Route 165 continues east 5 miles (8 km) to a dead end at Nelsons Landing on the Colorado River, 18 miles (29 km) by water north of Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mojave. Nelson is about 25 miles (40 km) from Boulder City by road.
The area known as Nelson was originally called Eldorado in 1775, by the Spaniards who made the original discoveries of gold in the area that is now Eldorado Canyon. A hundred years later the prospectors and miners of the day took over and established the notorious Techatticup Mine. Disagreements over ownership, management and labor disputes resulted in wanton killings so frequent as to be routine and ordinary. Despite the sinister reputation of the mine, it along with others in the town produced several million dollars in gold, silver, copper and lead.
The mines are accessible through the town of Nelson off US 95 about 25 miles southwest of Las Vegas. Mines were active from about 1858 until 1945. Many of the men that created them were deserters from the Civil War. Nelson was one of the first major gold strike areas in Nevada. The wharf area by the Colorado River was destroyed several years ago during a flash flood. Visitors should watch for conditions leading to flash flooding, and should be cautious of open mines and ventilation shafts.
In its heyday, the area established a reputation for being rough and lawless. During the American Civil War, deserters from both the Union and Confederate armies would wander there, hoping that such an isolated location would be the last place military authorities would look for them.
Nelson's Landing, about 5 miles (8 km) east of Nelson at the downstream end of Eldorado Canyon, washed into Lake Mohave in 1974 after a strong downpour in the regional mountains sent the runoff down the channels and produced a flash flood. There are five wide channels that run from the local mountains toward the river, all of which converge into a small outlet where Nelson's Landing was. The entire landing and village was destroyed and nine people died when the flood came through the wash. Among those killed was Ted Ducey, head coach of basketball at Claremont Mens College, now Claremont McKenna College.The wall of water and debris was reported as about 40 feet (12 m) high as it reached the river.
Much of Nelson, which was not impacted by the 1974 flood, remains today and is located way up the wash, away from the flood channels. The sparsely populated community consists mainly of privately owned ranch houses, and a river and mining tour business housed in a former Texaco gas station that has been used as a filming location for several feature films, including 3000 Miles to Graceland.
Nelson appears in the 2010 game, Fallout: New Vegas, in which it is under control of the faction known as Caesar's Legion.
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Nelson CDP, Nevada". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
- Las Vegas Age - Canyon Tragedy (November 26, 1910)