Posted by mlnbbm | Feb 15, 2024 | CommunityCommunity AnnouncementsLifestyleNews | 

By Breven Honda

The town of Mesquite is home to a lot of history long before Nevada became a state in 1864.

Dustin Berg

Flash forward nearly 160 years later, Dustin Berg was able to encapsulate the town into a nearly 200-page book, from its growing population to the evolution of the terrain for those to explore on a normal day either during the week or on the weekend.

In November, “All Around Mesquite: History, Trails & Destinations,” was published and provides a “comprehensive guide” to the area.

“I really wanted something that summarizes all the various things that are happening here outdoors and even in the community, as far as events and history,” Berg said on Jan. 26.

Berg arrived in Mesquite in 2019 after moving from the Pacific Northwest after having a background in graphic design and marketing.

He had ideas of opening up a restaurant or a brew pub until that was scratched due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

As a result, Berg had time and options as to where he was going to pivot. 

During the time of the pandemic, he still had the vision of opening a business with the history of Mesquite until he was able to deepen his understanding of the town and had a realization, shifting that mentality.

“It just occurred to me that somebody should write about all this stuff because I’d hear stories and it’s like, ‘Wow, that really happened here,’” Berg said. “Some of its bizarre, some of its really cool, some of its controversial. I thought it would be really valuable for somebody that is relatively new to the area to learn about the history but also there’s people that have lived here a long time and unless you get out and explore, you still don’t really know what’s out there.”

That was the moment he realized he wanted to write the book and for a 12-month period, he discovered Mesquite and the surrounding areas to the town, including Clark County, the tri-state area of Utah and Arizona as well as cities of Moapa Valley and St. George of how those cities effected Mesquite.

As result of traveling the city and discovering information, Berg said he was blown away by how the region was shaped.

“I learned a lot,” Berg said of his findings. “It’s also just really, really rich in the history and the ruggedness of the settlers that really developed this area. It’s amazing that only a few generations ago, they were living out here in the desert, without air conditioning and working all day in the heat.

“I read a story of one of the old settler families. They wouldn’t wear shoes outside of the summer and their feet were as rough as leather and it’s amazing that we’ve come a long way from that. I don’t want to lose sight of what struggles they had to go through to develop this area into what it is today.”

He was able to discover not only the glitz and glam of the town, but also the challenges people faced in Mesquite and the surrounding areas, such as high temperatures in the desert.

“As you go back through history, you see that ‘OK, they dealt with flooding and they dealt with sanitary issues and they dealt with heat and diet, dehydration,’” Berg said. “A lot of people died to this region, and it’s a really beautiful region. It’s rewarding, but it takes a lot of hard work to live here.”

Being able to explore the region was Berg’s favorite part during the writing process as he was able to dive into the endless history in southeastern Nevada, especially during his numerous trips down to the heritage museum. 

However, some of the more difficult moments for Berg also included the need for accuracy of the information, both in receiving it and passing it along to his eventual readers.

“Definitely the biggest challenge is trying to keep things organized, focused and factual,” he said. “I mean, there’s so many pieces of information and rumors and a lot of it can’t be verified. It’s anecdotal because families have passed on, so a lot of this history doesn’t really have eyewitness accounts or anything like that. So, trying to keep it all organized was definitely a struggle.”

Since the book was released in November, it was also an opportunity to be a holiday gift during December and into the new year for potential birthday gifts as well. 

Berg has also received a lot of encouraging feedback, including positive reactions to going out and exploring Mesquite even more as it even garnered No. 1 bestseller recognition on Amazon.

“A lot of people are excited. I’ve got a Facebook group that’s growing very big, and people are free to share pictures and stories on there,” Berg said. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive. People are excited to learn about what’s out there. They’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know all this was out there. Maybe I should go.’”

He has some new ideas on what his next book could be about, but the business aspect is not a foregone conclusion with opportunities there as well. There are many avenues Berg can go do for his next step.

Ultimately, Berg said it has been a privilege being able to put the book together for those learning about Mesquite for the first time or even the locals to understand more about the city they live in.

“I just appreciate the chance to talk about it,” Berg said. “I’m grateful to the community for the feedback I’ve gotten and just happy to be here.”

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