Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada
View of Virginia City from Boot Hill

Virginia City was founded on top of the Comstock Lode, one of the largest silver finds in North America. When news of the Comstock Lode got out, Virginia City blew up to a peak of almost 30,000 residents with a few years. Mining operations started in 1859 and ran until 1898. The operation was so fast and furious that the cutting of mining timbers to go in the mines denuded nearly the entire area of the Sierra Nevada's within a radius of 50 miles. It was the gold and silver found here that financed the building of San Francisco and also funded a lot of the Union Army activity during the Civil War.

At the height of the early frenzy, a newspaper reporter named Samuel Langhorne Clemens came to Virginia City. It was here that he first used the name "Mark Twain." But one evening (November 10, 1863) after visiting with some friends he was walking home and got "mugged." The robbers took his gold watch and all the money he had on him. The robbery showed up in the local paper and he used the story for material in his newspaper reports and also a couple times in books he later wrote. However, the mugging had been done by friends of his to give him something to write about, and he did get his money and his gold watch back. Apparently, the mugging had been done as a practical joke but he never did appreciate the humor involved.

Virginia City today is hardly a shadow of its former self. When the mines shut down, folks left overnight. These days Virginia City seems to be surviving on its attraction to tourists with more than 2 million visitors coming in every year.

Fast Facts about Virginia City, Nevada
Virginia City, Storey County, NV 89440
Elevation: 6,220'
Latitude: 39.3097°N
Longitude: 119.6492°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 90.5%
Hispanic: 4.8%
Native American: 0.5%
Other: 0.5%
Two or More Races: 2.1%
High School or Higher: 88.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 21.2%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 7.2%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 3,175
Males: 1,639
Females: 1,536
Median Resident Age: 43.2 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $58,400
Estimated Median Home Value: $211,210
2011 Cost of Living Index for Virginia City: 90.5
Major Industries:
Construction, Educational Services, Lodging & Food Services, Entertainment & Recreation, Government, Health Care, Transportation Services, Retail Services
Unemployed: 12.8% logo
Photo of Virginia City from Boot Hill courtesy of Daz 90, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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