Mesquite is a growing city in the Virgin Valley in the deserts of Nevada. Originally settled by Mormon pioneers, it has seen tremendous growth in the last couple decades due to tourism, gambling, and its warm climate which draws retirees. The Virgin River passes along the south side of town and the city has filled the space between it and Interstate 15 and spread into the hills north of the highway. To the south stand the Virgin Mountains, with a long gradual slope covered with creosote bushes at their feet. The Arizona border passes along the east end of town.
Mormon pioneers arrived at Mesquite in 1880, naming it Mesquite Flat. The settlement was abandoned twice because of floods on the Virgin River, but was finally established in 1894 with the shortened name Mesquite. Raisins were the cash crop for the early settlers who subsisted by farming.
In the 1970s, Interstate 15 was completed through Mesquite, which was still a small rural town. The Peppermill Casino brought in gambling and tourism. The city incorporated in 1984 and the city council began big plans for growth. That has continued to the present and the population of Mesquite grew from 9,389 to 15,276 between the years 2000 and 2010.
Prior to the freeway, U.S. Highway 91 was the thoroughfare through Mesquite. Its alignment is still preserved in Hillside Drive, Sandhill Boulevard and Mesquite Boulevard, and it extends all the way to Littlefield on the east side of town. On the west side of town it was supplanted by the freeway. Nevada Highway 170 begins at the west end of Mesquite, crosses the Virgin River and follows its southern banks for several miles to the west.
The elevation varies from 1558 feet at the river to about 1700 feet in the hills on the north side of the freeway. The climate is warm with mild winters and hot summers.