By Trevor Frank
Nestled in the shadow of the infamous Million-Dollar Courthouse rests the historic, but not as well-known Mountain View Hotel. This establishment was built in 1895 for the guests of Ely Valley Mines, as well as important politicians who stayed in Pioche for court business. Thought of as one of the best, the service of the Mountain View Hotel was highly regarded at the time. The hotel housed important figures such as Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, as well as notable Nevada governors and U.S. Senators.
Decades after its closure, the Lincoln County Commissioners voted to pay the back taxes on the worn-down building and are mulling over plans for the structure. According to an article published in the Record in early April, board Chairman Varlin Higbee said the place “ought to be torn down. It’s a liability. It’s going to fall on somebody.” However, according to some Pioche residents, it’s important to keep the building around.
Residents Elizabeth and Richard Sidford, and Louis Benezet are working to save this piece of Pioche history. To show the county that there’s local interest in saving the landmark, Benezet is canvassing in Pioche and Panaca, gathering signatures for a petition. “So far we’ve gotten about 100 signatures here at the Pioche post office, and about 25 down in Panaca,” he said.
The trio’s current plan is to gather interest from the community, and figure how much money it would take to save the building from falling into further disrepair. They asked a licensed contractor to assess the building and are awaiting his quote and advice. They’ve also partnered up with the non-profit Pioche Community and Economic Development Corp to assist in the process of saving the building and are currently looking for a grant writer.
An initial idea is simply to restore the shell of the building. Another suggestion is to allow people to see the possessions of the former owner, which have sat in the hotel since his death. There has also been discussion about the possibility of fully restoring each room, a few at a time, turning the place into a kind of museum.
Finally, there’s been discussion about turning the building into a fully functional hotel again, but that could only happen five to ten years down the line. Essentially, the trio is open to any and all ideas from the community. They just don’t believe history should just be forgotten like so many other historical buildings that have been razed in the past.