Scenic USA - Nevada

Virginia City

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C Street - Virginia City, Nevada

Photos by Alexa Goldmam

   Virginia City, one of Nevada's most famous towns, was the product of an 1859 silver find. The Comstock Load, discovered by 100 Years Silver Discovery Monument Harry Comstock, drew as many as 30,000 optimistic soles to the Mount Davidson location. Over a 60 year period it's estimated that 700 million dollars of silver and gold were extracted from the ground. Some of the recipients of quick wealth went on to make a name for themselves. George Hearst (publicist), Leland Stanford (university founder), and John Mackay (Trans-Atlantic Cable) are a few of the luminaries of the Virginia City bonanza.
   The first deposits of gold and silver were easy pickins, found in creek beds. Early mining techniques were crude and often discarded silver ore, seen only as thick, blue-gray clay. Over time, mineshafts followed the rich veins underground, with the deepest over 3800 feet. The richest place on earth came at a price.C Street Shops - Virginia City, NV A series of fires swept through town from 1860 through 1875. The Great Fire of 1875 reduced three quarters of the town to ashes, resulting in 12 million dollars in damages. Fires at the Yellow Jacket Mine also claimed the lives of at least two dozen men.
   Today, the city's population hovers around a thousand, relying on tourist dollars and small scale mining operations. A strip of original town businesses were added to the federal register as a National Historic District in 1961, where it gets especially crazy during the International Camel and Ostrich Races. Popular driving and walking tours offer a glimpse of what was once the richest mining town in the world, a town that never slept.

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