When the Comstock Silver Strike began in 1859, Virginia City was one of the richest silver strikes in the country. That fire alone caused damage worth twelve million dollars and destroyed 75% of the town. Though it destroyed much of the town, the silver and gold were not lost. Despite the economic and social problems of the town, it was rebuilt within 18 months. Today, the community is a popular tourist destination. Besides its rich history, Virginia City is home to numerous museums and historical sites.
For outdoor recreation, there are several hiking trails in the area. The Blue Wheel Trail is a popular hiking trail that includes a lake. It is a moderately-trafficked trail that’s suitable for hikers of all skill levels. It passes a beautiful creek and is shaded. During the spring and summer, this trail is beautiful and peaceful. Visitors should wear comfortable shoes and bring a GPS tracker to stay on track.
The Hike Five trail loops 3.5 miles through downtown Virginia City. Along the way, you’ll see several historic buildings and landmarks. For example, St. Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church, the Fourth Ward School, and Piper’s Opera House. The Taylor Street area was once home to the Comstock mining millionaires. Hike Seven, on the other hand, stretches 3.5 miles from Gold Hill Hotel to American Flat. You’ll also see a historic mine and Gold Hill Cemetery, which was established in 1859.
While exploring the Old West, don’t miss a visit to the Way It Was Museum. Located behind the St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Taylor Street, the museum features historical items from the Comstock era, including antique guns and lithographs. The museum also exhibits a vintage dress. A trip to Virginia City’s historic district won’t be complete without a visit to this place. Once you’ve seen the history and architecture of this town, you’ll be able to appreciate its charm.
The Comstock Lode was the biggest discovery in Nevada and arguably more money was made there than in California’s Gold Rush. The mines in Virginia City produced over 400 million of the silver and gold of the day. The wealth created by the mining boom helped support the Northern cause in the Civil War, flooded the monetary markets, and sparked a significant economic shift. The town became a bustling mining center, but it didn’t lose its frontier flavor.
After World War II, wealthy socialites moved to Virginia City. They poured millions of dollars into the mining industry and refurbished public buildings and built Victorian-style mansions. A growing population of famous authors added to the city’s reputation as an artist’s retreat. In addition to the booming industry, several films were filmed in the area. The popular TV show Bonanza made its debut in the town in 1959. During the boom period, Samuel Clemens signed his story under the Mark Twain pen name.
One of Virginia City’s most famous buildings, the Mackay Mansion, is still in use today. The Hearst family built it in the early 1900s and now serves as a museum. The building survived several major fires and is also home to a museum showcasing the history of the area. If you’re interested in ghost stories, there are guided ghost tours available. These tours take place in several locations throughout the city.