~ Virginia City, Nevada ~

Virginia City was another of those cases where getting there is better than being there. I found it to be nothing like the Virginia City of Bonanza fame, but, then, that Virginia City was on a backlot in Hollywood. It may have been like the old wild west at one time in its 160 year history, but no more. The sidewalks are still wooden planks, but the streets are asphalt and very steep.

It's a tourist trap with an abundance of "establishments" (saloons) for drinking and gambling. In which neither do I participate. I suppose the miners and support personnel back in the 1800s liked a cold one and a hand of poker after a long day in the mines, but I don't think they ever saw a slot machine.

There are a few museums displaying historical items, mostly from the gold and silver mining days of the Comstock Lode.

Like many cities and towns in Nevada, Virginia City was a mining boomtown; it appeared virtually overnight as a result of the Comstock Lode silver strike of 1859. During its peak, Virginia City had a population of over 30,000 residents and was called the richest city in America. During the 20 years following the Comstock success "about $400 million was taken out of the ground." Today, about 1000 people call Virginia City home.

Virginia City was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961. This, in effect, created a Virginia City Historic District. Today, Virginia City draws over 2 million visitors per year. It is one of the nation's largest National Historic Landmarks and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


I would have to negotiate these mountains to get there


Getting There is half most of the fun



These are from an overlook about half way up the mountains looking back at western Nevada and California. The road I had been traveling to Carson City, before I saw the sign for Virginia City, is visible in the left photo. About half way up and over to the left you can see the bridge on this haighway. Part of the road up the mountain I was on is visible in the photo on the right from the left edge two-thirds of the way up and running to the right.


This is looking down to the Washoe Valley and New Washoe, Nevada back towards Sparks, Nevada in the north. On th right is another view of U.S. Highway 395 between Sparks and Carson City. The S-curve in the highway is just below center.


This may be a camping area, but no signs were near to tell me about the overlook. The trail led up to this rock formation overlooking Washoe Valley.


These are from the rock formation


There were many stone structures resembling ovens or fireplaces. That is what gave me the impression this was a camping area.
On the right is Highway 395 in the background, New Washoe and in the lower left corner the beginnings of the road up this mountain.


On the left is below and looking back up at the rock formation from which I took several of the preceeding photos.
On the right is one of the stone structures.

The even built stairs from the rocks in the area

Another rock structure

A different overlook higher up on the mountain



In the photo on the left a small part of the Old Geiger Grade is visible as a bright spot above and to the right of center. In the right photo this same section is in the lower left quadrant of the photo.
The Old Geiger Grade was a toll road over these mountains constructed by Davison M. Geiger and John H. Tilton in 1862. It was, at the time, the most direct connection between the Comstock Silver Lode and the Truckee Meadows. It remained in service until replacement by the present paved highway in 1936.
Concord stage coaches, mud wagons and ten-mule freighters carried thousands of passengers and millions of dollars in precious cargo across this section of the Virginia Range. Many are the tales of unpredictable winds, snows, landslides and the everpresent danger of highwaymen which could be told about this precipitous stretch on road.


A larger part of the Old Geiger Grade is seen curving around to the left and then up the grade toward the left edge of the photo on the left.


The rest of these photos are rock formations I found interesting around the Geiger Grade Overlook


Virginia City, Nevada

Perhaps it's the Music Capitol of Nevada.
Buster Blue recorded their 2nd album "When the Silver's Gone" at Pipers Opera House in Virginia City in January 2010. The album was produced and recorded by Zak Girdis and Kevin Bosley. It was the first album to be recorded at the historic opera house.
"Darcy Farrow", a folk song written by Steve Gillette and Tom Campbell, mentions Virginia City and other places and landmarks in the area (including Yerington, the Carson Valley, and the Truckee River). The most popular version was performed by John Denver.
The Red Dog Saloon was where the likes of Janis Joplin, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Charlatans and other musicians got their starts in the 1960s.


City limit sign and Saint Mary's In The Mountains Church


Both culture and religion in Virginia City


I certainly would not park Arvie up there, or under it for that matter. There were some motor homes up there.


Photos of "Beautiful Downtown" Virginia City


Virginia City could be considered the "birthplace" of Mark Twain, as it was here, in February 1863, that writer Samuel Clemens, then a reporter on the local Territorial Enterprise newspaper, first used his famous pen name.

Care for a photo with a mule?

Looking back at the mountain I crossed to get here

Some of the backside of Virginia City

Ever hear of a "one-horse town?" Well, this was all I saw there


Left is a mining operation. On the right is probably where the locals live.


Old business establishments


The "The Way It Was" Museum



Still blowing up mountains for ?


Music is "No Place That Far"

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