Founded in 1864, the town of Panaca in Meadow Valley, Lincoln County, is the oldest Anglo-American community in eastern Nevada. Latter-day Saints laid out the town in the grid pattern of a typical Mormon frontier settlement in Utah. A large artesian spring emerges at the north end of the town, supplying a generous quantity of water. As Panaca was dedicated to farming and community cooperation, the irrigation ditches ran parallel to the wide, poplar-lined streets.
In the 1870s, the economy of Panaca felt the stimulation of silver ore discoveries at Pioche, eleven miles to the north. One of the major mills for processing the Pioche ores was located at Bullionville. Situated two miles north of Panaca, it supplied an artesian source of water.
The gardens of Panaca provided much of the fresh table produce for the miners during the 1870s. Again in the 1940s and 1950s, when the mines of Pioche were in production, Panaca prospered as a garden supplier and possible home for those working in the mines and mill in Pioche.
Panaca, like its southern neighbors Caliente and Alamo, has been one of the "downwind" communities of the Nevada Test Site. It has been the location of the Lincoln County High School since its founding in 1909.