Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Nevada)

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This article is about the district in Nevada. For the district in Montana, see Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Montana).

Coordinates: 39°18′37″N 119°38′58″W / 39.31028°N 119.64944°W / 39.31028; -119.64944

Virginia City Historic District
Virginia City Nevada USA.jpg
Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Nevada) is located in Nevada
Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Nevada)
Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Nevada) is located in the US
Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Nevada)
Location Virginia City, Nevada, USA
Area 14,750 acres (59.7 km2)
Built 1859
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Bungalow/craftsman, Late Victorian
NRHP Reference # 66000458
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHLD July 4, 1961[2]

Virginia City Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District encompassing the former mining villages of Virginia City and Gold Hill, both in Storey County, as well as Dayton and Silver City, both to the south in adjacent Lyon County, Nevada, United States. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961, it is one of only six in the state of Nevada.[2][3]

Virginia City was the prototype for future frontier mining boom towns, with its industrialization and urbanization.[4] It owed its success to the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode. It is laid out in a grid pattern 1,500 feet below the top of Mount Davidson. Most of the buildings are two to three story brick buildings, with the first floors used for saloons and shops. It was the first silver rush town, and the first to intensely apply large-industrial mining methods.[4][5]

After a year in existence, the boomtown had 42 saloons, 42 stores, 6 restaurants, 3 hotels, and 868 dwellings to house a town residency of 2,345. At its height in 1863, the town had 15,000 residents. From its creation in 1859 to 1875, there were five widespread fires. The 1875 fire, dubbed the Great Fire of 1875, caused $12,000,000 in damages.[6]

Today, Virginia City is but a shadow of its former glory; however, it still draws over 2 million visitors per year. In 2004, its condition was considered "threatened". One reason is that an inactive mining pit may cause some of the buildings that make up the historic nature of the district to slide into the pit. The cemeteries are constantly vandalized and are in danger of erosion. Continued use of the district for tourism is harming those historical buildings still in use, and neglect of privately held unused buildings increases the damage to the district.[2]

Other NRHP listings within the district[edit]

Contributing properties[edit]

Contributing properties in the historic district include:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c "Virginia City Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  3. ^ Charles Snell and Marilynn Larew (April 21, 1978), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Virginia City Historic District (pdf), National Park Service  and Accompanying 50 or so photos from 1968, 1971, 1978 and other dates. (8.81 MB)
  4. ^ a b Virginia Historic District -Three Historic Nevada Cities: Carson City, Reno and Virginia City-A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
  5. ^ Snell and Larew, pg.2, 5, 7
  6. ^ Snell and Larew, pg.2, 8, 9
  7. ^ Snell and Larew, pgs 2-4
  8. ^ Bernadette Franke and Andria S. Daley (April 1993). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: C.J. Prescott House" (PDF). National Park Service.  and accompanying photo from 1993
  9. ^ "Savage Mining Company Office". National Park Service. Retrieved March 2, 2017. The top two floors of the building served as the mine superintendent's residence, while the ground floor was the mine office. 
  10. ^ "Gould and Curry Mining Company Office/Mackay Mansion". National Park Service. Retrieved March 2, 2017. The building survived the Great Fire of 1875, after which it became the local business headquarters, and brief residence, for one of the most powerful and wealthy characters on the Comstock, John Mackay. 
  11. ^ "Storey County Courthouse". National Park Service. Retrieved March 2, 2017. The first county courthouse was destroyed in the Great Fire of October 1875. Reconstruction began in 1876 and the present building...was completed in February 1877. 

External links[edit]