They say that the third time is a charm. That's just the way it was for the proud families who fought to create a life for themselves in a place called Mesquite Flats. Between 1878 and 1882 fifteen families and a total of seventy-one people
had moved to Mesquite and were successfully farming the area. The lifeblood of this high desert community was the Virgin River. However, a heavy rainstorm at any time of the year can turn the Virgin River into a raging torrent. Those first settlers found this out in June of 1882 when six miles of irrigation canals were broken in fifty different places by torrents of the afternoon thunderstorms. For a community dependent on this canal, it was a devastating loss. Work began immediately to repair the damage but it was not long until the river had forced everyone out.
In 1887, Dudley Leavitt with his wives and children tried to settle Mesquite Flats again. After a four-year struggle against the elements they, too, were forced to leave. Finally, in 1894, hearty pioneers attempted a third time to tame Mesquite Flats. Six young families from Bunkerville rebuilt the canal and established themselves permanently along the bank of the Virgin River. In 1898, the town changed its name from Mesquite Flats to Mesquite.
Farming has taken place in Mesquite for over 100 years. Success of agricultural development in Mesquite is the result of the Virgin River and the innovative irrigation system created by the early settlers to water their crops.
In 1894 many crops were planted in Mesquite. These crops were cotton, grapes, alfalfa wheat and cane. Also pomegranates and figs were planted and produced very well. For a time, cotton and raisins were the main cash crops in the community.
For much of the late 20th century dairies dominated the landscape. At one time there were five dairies in Mesquite. As
the automobile grew in popularity Mesquite entrepreneurs opened motels and campgrounds for travelers and tourists. Tourists increased the demand for agricultural products, such as milk and eggs, and surpluses soon made their way to markets in Las Vegas.
The old rock house was among the first dwellings built when Mesquite Flat was originally settled in
1880. This lone surviving home of the original town is an example of the rugged existence of those early days on Mesquite Flat . The house was made by stacking rocks on top of each other and filled in with clay and sand mortar. The walls were 20 inches thick in places depending on the size of rocks. This helped insulate from outside temperatures especially during the extreme heat of summer.
In the 130 plus years of existence the rock house has been changed, remodeled and added to several times. Each family that has occupied it has attempted to make it more comfortable and accommodating for their needs, but the basic structure is still clearly visible.
The old rock house is now owned by the City of Mesquite and is kept as a tribute to those hardy early settlers.
The building that houses the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum was built in
1941. The original purpose of the building was to serve the community as a library and museum. The building served as the Mesquite branch of the Clark County Library for about a year. The building was then converted to and used as a hospital. The building served as the hospital and only medical facility in Mesquite until 1977. After being closed for a few years, it was used as a Boy Scout meeting hall. In 1984, the newly incorporated City of Mesquite reclaimed it and designated it a museum to house the historical treasures of the Virgin Valley.
Over the years the small pioneer town of Mesquite has grown and changed. With all of the advancements and growth that have come, Mesquite remains connected to its rich heritage because the great people of this city continue "Pioneering With Pride".