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     Shortly after G. F. Colton discovered gold on May 6, 1897, the town of Searchlight was born. By October 1898, a camp was formed and a post office was established. The following year, the community opened a school for its few children. These students met in a small shared structure until the new 20 by 40 foot wood frame building was constructed in 1904.

   By 1906, however, the school was in need of more space and construction began on a two-room addition to the structure. By 1908, the school had 101 students. But with the decline in mining a few years later, Searchlight became a near ghost town. By 1927, there were only five students among the 50 residents. In the boom-bust nature of mining, the town experienced a rebound in the late 1930s. With optimism about where the town was headed, the residents built a new cement-block school on the same site in 1942. But the optimism was short-lived. By end of the decade, student enrollment had dropped back down again.

   The schoolhouse remained in use until 1992 when the Harry Reid Elementary School was built nearby to replace the original, which was falling apart, couldn’t handle new technology, and didn’t have space for elementary special programs, such as music and art. This new school was named for one of the most well-known Nevada students to attend the Searchlight School, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    While Education in the Neon Shadow features a section on Searchlight, not all of the Archive Committee's collection fit into the publication. To view additional artifacts on this community, take the Searchlight tour. Begin by clicking the below START button or click on thumbnails to jump to an individual page. 

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Searchlight Tour

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