August 5, 2015

Ghost Town Emerges As Drought Makes Nevada's Lake Mead Disappear

Many of the buildings used to lie 60 feet below the lake surface

A sign showing the trail to the ghost town of St. Thomas in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada in August 2015.

Nick Visser
The Huffington Post

Lest anyone forget, the drought in California and across the Southwest is still raging on. And one of the places where its effects can be observed most clearly is Nevada's Lake Mead.

The nation's largest reservoir has hit a series of troubling milestones over the past year, sinking to a record low in late June. Now, in the latest benchmark for the new Lake Mead, a town that flooded shortly after the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1938 has literally risen from the depths.

The ghost town -- once called St. Thomas, Nevada -- was founded as a Mormon settlement in 1865 and had six bustling businesses by 1918, according to But for nearly a century, it's been uninhabited and uninhabitable, existing mostly as an underwater curiosity.

Captured by two Getty photographers, the photos [at the link] below show the shell of the former settlement. St. Thomas has appeared under similarly dire drought conditions several times in the past decades.

The National Park Service has opened up a pathway from a parking area down to the ruins, which you'll be able to visit for the foreseeable future. Take a look here.

The ruins of a school in Mormon pioneer town Saint Thomas, flooded 70 years ago by the rising waters of the Colorado River when it was dammed to create Lake Mead.