Silver Terrace Cemeteries, Virginia City

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    Cemeteries, studied, analyzed, and experienced, touch the human senses and convey a sense of place for both the past and the present.

    For the Silver Terrace cemeteries the evolution from cemetery for the mourner to a tourist destination has been a 150 year, sixty-five-acre, human tale of interaction with a regional cemetery landscape.

    Below town to the north are Virginia City’s nine cemeteries. The burying grounds — and please don’t call them Boot Hill, that’s in Pioche, or Tombstone — were once like gardens, a showplace of tree-shaded walks and carriageways between the elaborate enclosures, monuments and headstones. With the decline of the mines, the cemeteries fell into delapidation and disrepair along with the rest of the city.

    They were rescued from abandonment by a team of convicts from the State Prison working under the direction of the priest at St. Mary In The Mountains. The overwhelming majority of visitors to Virginia City pay a visit to the dead — how can they resist? — and they put about $75 a week in the collection jars to support restoration.