Virginia City Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui
  • Things to Do
    by Yaqui

Most Recent Things to Do in Virginia City

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    Silver State National Peace Officers Museum

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    This museum became the lifelong passion of Walter Gist who found a officers badge at a garage sale. He was distressed since officer badges should be passed down with honor, so he started to collect them in the hopes of finding them a proper place to display them with honor. This musuem is filled from top to bottom of wonderful historical artifacts. The jail itself is a artifact and has been brought back to what it was back in its day. What a awesome musuem and put together beautifully.

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    The Storey County Jail 1877

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    This two-story jail was completed in 1877, and featured ten individual cells, each of which had bunk beds and “state of the art” plumbing for the day. Women were housed on the second level and men on the first floor until 1963, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that males and females could not occupy the same facility without being physically separated. There was heavy wire mesh strung between the posts of the second level to prevent falls and mingling of inmates.

    The jail operated continuously from 1877 until September of 1986, when the county’s insurance carrier decided it was unwise to operate it with only one exit in the event of fire. Inmates were housed at the Carson City Sheriff’s Jail, for a fee, until the current jail was opened in 1992 on the outskirts of town on the “Truck Route – SR341”.

    The walls of the jail were covered in boiler plate, after a successful escape in 1897 by an alleged murderer who had worked on the building as a bricklayer. “Red Mike” Langan knew the walls had not been properly filled with rubble material as required, and was able to dig his way out and escape. The county went to great expense to see that this did not happen again.

    The doors of the jail were built C.F. Nutting of San Francisco, the same company that supplied all the vaults in the rest of the courthouse. The stone floors are made of “Kate’s Peak Andesite,” a very dense and heavy granite which was quarried from the hills a short distance to the east of Virginia City. This marker sponsored by Bruce & Linda Larson of Virginia City, Nevada who both retired from the Storey County Sheriff’s Office and worked in this jail.

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    Storey County Courthouse 1876

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    The plaque reads: Storey County was organized in 1860 and is named after Captain Edward Storey who was killed during the Pyramid Lake Indian wars in Nevada. The prior courthouse erected on this site was destroyed in the Great Fire of October 26, 1875, that also burned many of Virginia City’s early documents. Storey County hired the architectural firm of Kenitzer and Raum of San Francisco to design the replacement. Work began in 1876 by contractor Peter Burke, and was finished in 1877 at a cost of $117,000.00. The courthouse also served as headquarters for the Storey County Sheriff’s Office until 1992 when a new facility was built on State Route 341, about a ¼ mile from this site. This building is one of two nineteenth century courthouses in Nevada still serving county government. It currently houses the Clerk Treasurer, Assessor, Comptroller, Recorder, County Manager and the County Commissioners.

    The Statue of Justice perched on the second-floor alcove is the only one to grace the exterior of a Nevada building, and has been the source of much controversy. The seven foot zinc figure was manufactured in New York and arrived in Virginia City in 1877 at a cost of only $236.00. Over the years a legend has evolved that she was one of only a few created not blindfolded. Research has proven that about 20 such models exist in the country. Perhaps this one was chosen by residents to make sure that justice would always see that justice prevailed on the Comstock. The marker is sponsored by Walling and Wyble Families, Virginia City, Nevada.

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    Piper’s Opera House 1863

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    The plaque reads: Piper’s Opera House began as Maguire’s Opera House in 1863 when San Francisco theater impresario Thomas Maguire built the establishment, two blocks east of this site on “D” Street between Union and & Taylor Streets. Maguire fell on hard times and sold the opera house to John Piper in 1867. That building burned in the Great Fire of 1875. Piper then rebuilt the second opera house here behind his Corner Saloon, and re-opened on January 28, 1878. Tragedy struck once again when an early morning fire on March 13, 1883, reduced the opera house to a heap of smoldering ruins. Allegedly John Piper, himself, left a cigar burning in his upstairs apartment after closing a show. Piper rebuilt once again and opened the third Opera House on March 6, 1885, this is the building that stands before you today. In addition to hosting the finest entertainment acts in America, Piper’s also served as a venue for political rallies, dances, graduation parties and a host of other civic events. Shakespeare was popular at Piper’s along with orators, poets, and minstrel shows. John Piper arrived in Virginia City in 1860, and opened the Old Corner Wines, Liquors & Co., on this site. He was involved early on in Storey County politics and was elected to the city council in 1865, and took over the mayoral seat the following year. He also served as Storey County Commissioner and was elected state Senator from Storey County in 1875 and 1877. John Piper’s political contributions to Virginia City are all but forgotten today, overshadowed by his three decades of ownership of the famed opera house. John Piper died in San Francisco on January 3, 1897 at age 63.

    At left, Piper’s Opera House during the 1920’s. It fell into disrepair and required many years of restoration to bring it back to today’s appearance.

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    Fourth Ward School 1876 – 1936

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    Centennial monument to education and National treasure. Built in the second Empire Style Architecture with state of the art amenities to house 1000 students. Instructed using progressive curriculum and teaching practices. The building represents the importance of public education to the early miners and in the heritage of the American West.

    The cut stone foundation is anchored in solid granite from Mt. Davidson. Steel rods support the 4 stories to its foundation. It has 14 class rooms, 2 study halls. Built to accomodate 1,025 students, it was a grammar -High school combination and graduated its last class in 1936.

    The Fourth Ward School is a museum and is filled with all sorts of wonderful exhibits, historical information, artifacts, and photographs.

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    Old Washoe Club 1862

    by Yaqui Updated Mar 29, 2015

    This historic club was formedd in the mid-1870's by the elite gentlemen of the comstock. It was an exclusive social club which allowed them recognition of their status. It also was a way of avoiding the rowdier citizens. It was formed in the heyday of the mining activity here, termed the "Silver Seventies" and rivaled exclusive men's clubs in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. The prominent members and guests included General Sheridan, General and formers Presidents U.S. Grant, inventor Thomas A. Edison, General Sher,am. actors Edwin Boothe and Lawrence Barrett, author Mark Twain, mining tycoons James G. Fair, John Mackay and many moore.

    There is a museum in the back called "The Crypt". For a small fee, you can enter the musuem and see some interesting artificates and Ghose Adventure Memorabilia and to see the famous spiral staircase.

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    The Pioneer Church 1875

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    The plaque reads: The first religious service in Nevada, officiated by a visiting Protestant Episcopal Reverend, was held in Virginia City's U.S. Courthouse on Sept. 11, 1861. A Parish was organized as St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal. In the following year the Rev. Franklin S. Rising became St. Paul's first Pastor and missionary, also holding services in Gold Hill and Silver City. A $30,000.00 church was built and the first service was held on Feb. 22, 1863. It was destroyed in the great fire of 1875 and rebuilt the following year on the original site.

    The gothic style St. Paul's Episcopal Church's interior is adorned with hand-hewn pine beams and sugar pine planking from Lake Tahoe. The pipe organ, the oldest in Nevada, cost $3,000.00 and came around the "Horn". St. Paul's Parish, founded in 1861 is still active and holds Sunday services year round. Dedicated Jun 28, 6019 (2014)
    Julia C. Bulette Chapter 1864
    E Clampus Vitus

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    St. Mary's in the Mountains 1864

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    This church is absolutely beautiful. Once you walk thru the doors, its makes you feel completely as ease and welcome.

    The plaque outside reads: Known as the "Bonanza Church" because of the rich silver mines of the last century, this Mother Church of the Comstock Lode traces it history to 1858 when the Rev. Joseph Gallagher (1821-87) offered the first mass in Nevada. His brother, the Rev. Hugh P. Gallagher (1815-82), opened the first church in Virginia City in 1860. Destroyed by the winds of the following winter, this church was replaced in 1864 when the Rev. Patrick Manogue (1831-95) erected a new church a block away from here. The present church, originally built in 1868, was seriously damaged in the Great Fire of 1875 but rebuilt in 1876. Today St. Mary's stands here as a treasure of the old west and is now recognized as a National Catholic Historic Site. Erected 1991 by the International Order of Alhambra.

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    Bank of California 1864

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    Now the Ponderosa Saloon that has an actual underground mine you can tour, but it started out as a bank.
    The two plaques read:
    William Sharon
    1821 – 1885
    Inscription. Managed the Bank of California during the Comstock’s Bonanza period. During this time, he was known as the “King of the Comstock.”
    William Sharon was the father of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad. He also formed the “Union Mill and Mining Company” and was elected United States Senator in 1875.
    Often times disliked by many, William Sharon was one of the major developers of the Comstock Lode.
    Julia C. Bullette Chapter #1864
    E Clampus Vitus
    June 27th 1998 (6003)

    Bank of California
    Historic Bank Site
    — 1864 – 1964 —
    On this site, the Virginia City Agency of the Bank of California was established on September 6, 1864.

    Here miners obtained the capital that financed the most spectacular boom in mining history. Nearly one billion dollars in gold and silver was mined from the neighboring hills, and much of it passed through these doors, to be stored in the vault now on display inside.

    The bank also financed mining operations through other Nevada agencies at Gold Hill, Treasure City, Hamilton and White Pine.

    The Virginia City Agency, the last of the Nevada offices, was finally discontinued by the Bank of California on July 1, 1917, after recording a permanent milestone in the history of the West.

    The head office of the Bank of California today is located, as it was then, at 400 California Street in San Francisco.
    Erected on this Occasion of
    the Centennial Celebration
    of the State of Nevada and
    The Bank of California
    1964

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    V & T Car No. 13

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    The plaques reads: V & T Car No. 13
    The only railroad car ever designed expressively for transportation pf precious metals. Mail-Bullion Car No. 13 was built by the Oxford Car Company in 1874 to the order of the fabulous Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Until 1939 she transported her precious cargoes, totaling in value millions of dollars, from Virginia City to the mint at Carson City and to the S.P. connection in Reno.

    Donated to Virginia City by
    George L. Gary
    This plaque erected by
    The Virginia City Businessmen’s Association
    MCMLXVI

    Bob
    Pasadena California * April 8 1911 * Virginia City, Nev, June 26, 1968
    The Parentheses
    Young love to the sea, intense, and critical love for peace and people....editor of the territorial enterprise where he reigned intense and critical...to those who loved him. "A touch of Twain revisiting the Comstock" his insistence of placement here of this famous railroad relic...sail on....rail on plumed warrior.
    Bob Richards
    Julia C. Bulette Chapter. E Clampus Vitus
    Septmeber 1969

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    Col. Morris Pinschower Building 1862

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    This is part of the Comstock Corner Cafe and General Store now, but started out as a bank and livery stable. The plaque reads: Joseph Frederick Hardware, The Nevada Bank of San Francisco and a livery stable were housed herein. In 1910 Ferdinand Beck opened Beck’s Hardware, & Comstock Garage. In the 1930’s Clarence Elkin operated a Shell garage and Ford dealership. From 1959-1994 this building housed Grahame and Paula Hardy’s Mark Twain Museum of Memories. No. 5 Friends of the Comstock. Dedicated 2004.

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    The Nevada Bank of San Francisco 1862

    by Yaqui Written Mar 29, 2015

    Now the Comstock Corner Cafe, this historical buildings started out as a bank. The plaque reads: Built in 1862-63, this building was first the office of the private bankers Paxton and Thornburgh. After their move to Reese River in 1864-65, it was used sporadically until the Nevada Bank of San Francisco opened January 10, 1876.

    Owned by the “Big Four” Mackay, Fair, Flood and O’Brian with Louis McLane. This bank engaged in international financial business for Nevadans for almost twenty years.

    While never large, the Nevada Bank was important and successful and when closed in April 1895. The Comstock lost a notable institution.

    Julia C. Bulette Chapter, E Clampus Vitus. June 24, 1972

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    Virginia & Truckee R.R. Ride

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 11, 2015

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    When I heard there was an actual train, we hurried over to the visitor center to get tickets. We were not disappointed. The train takes you to Gold Hill and back. Along the ride the conductor points out many historical landmarks and the very interesting history of this railroad.

    History:
    Nevada’s most famous short line is the Virginia & Truckee Railroad which connected Reno with Carson City, Virginia City, and Minden. Operating for 80 years, the V&T was Nevada’s Bonanza Railroad as it hauled valuable Comstock ore to quartz reduction mills located at Silver City and along the Carson River. Today visitors to Virginia City enjoy a ride over nearly three miles of the original line amidst encouraging prospects that rails my soon once again reach the outskirts of Carson City. The name “Virginia & Truckee” is recognized the world over: V&T locomotives and cars have appeared in scores of feature-length motion pictures and the historic equipment is preserved and exhibited in museums in Nevada, California, and as far away as Strasburg, Pennsylvania. The V&T enjoys an international constituency.http://www.virginiatruckee.com/history/

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    Banners Brothers Building 1875

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 10, 2015

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    The plaque reads: Originally a clothing store operated by Victor & Marcus Banner in 1868. Rebuilt after the 1875 fire and continued under the Banners until the late 1880’s. E.J. Dwyer & Co. continued operations until the 1920’s. Bill Marks opened the Crystal Bar circa 1934 establishing a first tourist attraction in Virginia City. No. 2 Friends of the Comstock Dedicated 2003

    Now is houses the Visitor Center. We went in here to find out more about the train and bought tickets here. Restrooms are available in here for visitors too. There are lots of wonderful historical photo's on the walls, but just look at that ceiling and gorgeous chandeliers.

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    Mark Twain Museum~Territorial Enterprise 1870

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 4, 2015

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    This museums has Mark Twain's desk, chair, books and some furnishings. The pressroom and equipment that he used is on display. This is the place where Mark Twain spent most of his Virginia City days writing for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper.

    There are many plaques on this building with wonderful historical information and the first one reads from right: The Territorial Enterprise
    Near this site Nov. 3, 1860 was published the first Territorial Enterprise under a Virginia City dateline. Born 1858 at Genoa the Enterprise was to become a celebrated property of the Old West whose Editors, Joe Goodman, Rollin Daggett, Mark Twain, Judge C.C. Goodwin, achieved immortality in Western legion. This marker is placed Nov. 3, 1955 to mark 95 years of Nevada letters.
    Lucius Beebe, Publisher
    Charles Clegg, Editor

    Second: William Wright aka Dan De Quille
    May 9, 1829 – March 16, 1898
    Worked as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise from 1861 until 1885, re-joined the paper in 1887 and continued working until the paper ceased operation.

    While as a reporter he was the author of several books. His most famous was the “Big Bonanza” published in 1876. While the book first met with little success today it is considered one of the foremost written on the Comstock Lode.

    Dan De Quille left Virginia City in 1897 to live with his daughter in West Liberty, Iowa. He died in 1898 and is buried there.
    Julia C. Bulette Chapter 1864, E Clampus Vitus
    June 24, 1994

    Third: Mark Twain, who greatly enriched the literature of the west, started his career as a writer in this building in 1862 on the editorial staff of the Territorial Enterprise. Placed April 29, 1934 University of Nevada Press Club.

    Fourth: John “Snowshoe” Thompson / James T. Fennimore
    Dedicated to two of Nevada’s brawniest pioneers: James T. Fennimore, who, on a wild night in 1859, christened this town Virginia – and to John “Snowshoe” Thompson who carried the mails on homemade skis during the crescent years of the Comstock Lode. Erected June 13, 1959 by Snowshoe Thompson Chapter E Clampus Vitus.

    Fifth: Mark Twain
    100 years ago, in 1864, Samuel Clemens left the Territorial Enterprise, moving on to California and world-wide fame. He was a reporter here in 1863 when he first used the name, Mark Twain. He later described his colorful adventures in Nevada in “Roughing It.”
    Nevada Centennial Marker No. 27
    Placed by
    James Lenhoff, 1964
    Editor and Publisher
    Territorial Enterprise

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Virginia City Things to Do

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