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Nipton is an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County, California, on the northern edge of Mojave National Preserve, west of Searchlight, Nevada and accessible via Nevada State Route 164. It has a population of 60 people.
Nipton was originally founded on February 9, 1905, with the coming of the first train on the newly constructed San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. Originally called "Nippeno Camp" following a nearby discovery of gold, the name was changed to Nipton when the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad merged with the Union Pacific Railroad around 1910. In addition to being a cattle-loading station for several local ranches, the town and depot also supplied numerous mines in the area, becoming a social center for the sparse population of the region.
Early facilities included a school, a U.S. post office, a voter precinct, and several small businesses. A five-room adobe hotel built in the Mexican Territorial style, originally constructed in 1910, is still in business, and current facilities include a trailer park, a small general store, and a café that is open on most days. The cafe, called The Oasis, advertises that they have the best burgers in Nipton, even though there is only one hamburger restaurant there.
Nipton also features two historic residences, the Nippeno House and the Hermitage House have been restored and are available furnished for limited term occupancy by professionals engaged in local area projects.
For many years, Nipton had the most lottery ticket sales in the state for the California State Lottery. When a new office opened nearby, immediately outside Primm, Nevada, Nipton lost its number one ranking, as Primm was easier and faster to get to for Las Vegas residents and others.
In June 2010, Nipton unveiled a sun-powered generator that is expected to provide about 85 percent of the town’s electricity. The 80-kilowatt project is part of the one-time mining camp’s plan to become an eco-tourism mecca. Nipton is on the northern edge of the Mojave National Preserve, home of the popular Kelso Dunes. According to the historical marker placed on October 10, 1999 by Billy Holcomb Chapter and Queho Posse of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, the city intends to make itself the gateway to the Mojave National Preserve. Many park visitors favor environmentalism, and they often stay at campgrounds and hotel in Nipton. The town is betting that stepping up its environmental reputation will drive tourism growth.
The area has a large amount of sunshine year round due to its stable descending air and high pressure. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Nipton has a mild desert climate, abbreviated "Bwh" on climate maps.
Nipton in fiction
Nipton is featured in the video game Fallout: New Vegas where it is wiped out by a fictional slave-trading group and army called Caesar's Legion. As a historical in-joke, the residents are forced to perform a lottery to see who would be spared.
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