Scenic USA - Nevada

Silver Terrace Cemetery

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Silver Terrace Cemetery - Virginia City, Nevada

Photo by Alastair Allan
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     This eerie Silver Terrace Cemetery scene creates a spooky prelude for the night of Halloween. Eleven of Virginia City's cemeteries are found at this one site, with sections for Masons, Catholics and firefighters, and segregated plots for groups of Italians, Chinese and Irish. These Victorian era cemeteries were the forerunners of today's city parks, decorated with landscapes of flowers and shrubbery. The graveyards were places of relaxation and contemplation, a vivid contrast from Nevada's drab desert surroundings.
     Comstock and Virginia City quickly became one of the largest cities in the west, propelled by one of the largest finds of gold and silver in America. These instant riches brought in miners and entrepreneur by the thousands. By 1864 the booming population seemed to push Nevada into statehood.
     As with any boomtown relying on a sole source of income, Virginia City eventually went bust. By the time of the Great Depression, population dwindled to a few hundred people. The television series, Bonanza, running from 1959 to 1973, soon turned the town into a curiosity. Thousands of visitors began to seek out the town that the Cartwright family made famous. Today, Virginia City doesn't mind the ongoing myth as being the largest nationally registered historic district in the nation. Tours includes the city cemetery, although not required for its visitation.

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