Searchlight is an unincorporated town and census-designated place (CDP) in Clark County, Nevada, United States, at the topographic saddle between two mountain ranges. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 539. Searchlight is the hometown of Senator Harry Reid, whose father was a miner. Reid is often cited as the town's foremost historian and is the author of Searchlight: The Camp That Didn't Fail. According to former Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who has written extensively about his hometown, the most likely story as to how the town received its name was that when George Frederick Colton was looking for gold in the area in 1897, he supposedly said that it would take a searchlight to find gold ore there.