V i r g i n i a C i t y
Virginia City and Gold Hill, Nevada in Storey County are located in the
Virginia Mountain Range, approximately 23 miles southeast of Reno, 14 miles
north west of Carson City, and 40 miles east of Lake Tahoe.
Access to the area is via State Route 341 (Geiger Grade) from Reno or
Dayton (just east of Carson City).
Storey County has an estimated population of 2,526+ people as of
July, 1990 census. Estimated
population for 1997 and 1998, respectively are 2,995 and 3,053 for a 1.9%
average annual increase. Many
residents in Virginia City/Gold Hill area commute to the Reno area as it is
within a 30-minute drive from Virginia City.
The area enjoys a moderate climate with temperature ranges in the summer
from 40º to 90º and in the winter from 10º to 60º.
City was the first truly industrial city in the West began in the late 1850's.
Gold was found at the head
of Six-Mile Canyon in 1859 by two miners named Pat McLaughlin and Peter
O'Reilly. A fellow miner, Henry Comstock, stumbled upon their find and claimed
it was on his property. The
gullible McLaughlin and O'Reilly believed him and assured Comstock a place in
history when the giant lode was named. Following
the gold up the canyon an outcropping of gold in quartz was found.
Another miner, James Finney, nicknamed "Old Virginny" from his
birthplace, is reported to have named the town during a drunken celebration. He
dropped a bottle of whiskey on the ground and christened the newly-founded
tent-and-dugout town on the slopes of Mt. Davidson "Old Virginny
Town," in honor of himself.
mixed with high quality silver ore was recovered in quantities large enough to
catch the eye of President Abe Lincoln. He
needed the gold and silver to keep the Union solvent during the Civil War.
On October 31, 1864 Lincoln made Nevada a state although it did not
contain enough people to constitutionally authorize statehood.
resulting boom turned Virginny Town into Virginia City, the most important
settlement between Denver and San Francisco.
The prospectors built mansions, imported furniture and fashions from
Europe and the Orient, and financed the Civil War.
the gold and silver came the building of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad,
which ran from Reno to Carson City to Virginia City and later to Minden. The
investments made in mining on the Comstock in the 1860's, 1870's and 1880's
fueled the building of San Francisco. Wm.
Ralston and Crocker, founders of the Bank of California made their money in
Virginia City. Names like Leland Stanford, George Hearst, John Mackay, Wm. Flood
and many others made their fortunes in Comstock mining.
the peak of its glory, Virginia City was a boisterous town with something going
on 24 hours a day both above and below ground for its nearly 30,000 residents.
There were visiting celebrities, Shakespeare plays, opium dens, newspapers,
competing fire companies, fraternal organizations, at least five police
precincts, a thriving red-light district, and the first Miner's Union in the
U.S. The International Hotel was
six stories high and boasted the West's first elevator, called a “rising
many mansions such as the Castle, the Mackay and the Savage stand as monuments
to the opulence of life on the Comstock. The
Virginia & Truckee Railroad runs again from Virginia City to Gold Hill.
The largest federally designated Historical District in America is
maintained in its original condition. "C" Street, the main business
street, is lined with 1860's and 1870's buildings housing specialty shops of all
Source of History: www.vcnevada.com
The major bases of the economy in Virginia City in approximate order of
magnitude are: tourist related and
gaming businesses, government employment, retail, and real estate.
The most important industry today in the Comstock is tourism.
An estimated 1,000,000+ tourists visit the area annually.
Several events are held throughout the year to attract tourists
including: The Mountain Oyster
Cook-off, St. Patrick's Day parade, Tears of Joy Puppet Theater, Sierra Winds
Wind Quintet, Cinco de Mayo Chili Cookoff, theater productions, Western States
Racing Assoc. Grand Prix (Motorcycles), Comstock Historic Preservation Week,
Escaragajo Dune Buggy Club Rally, Bonanza Days/ Western Reg. Gunfighter
Championship, Virginia City Hillclimb - Audi/Quatro, "Make a Wish"
Foundation’s Mt. Bike Race & Poker Walk, Fourth of July Parade &
Fireworks, Storey County Official County Fair, Virginia City Rodeo, Thunder on
the Mountain Classic Car Show, The Camel Races, 100 Mile Horseback Endurance
Ride, Ferrari Club of America - Hill Climb, parade and Car Show, Comstock Art
Show, Veteran's Day Parade, Christmas on the Comstock Parade Of Lights with Tree
Lighting with Fireworks following the parade.
Virginia City/Gold Hill is an historic area of northern Nevada attracting
many tourists. There is
adequate sewer and water available for development and considerable
residential, commercial and industrial land available for development in
Virginia City/Gold Hill.