FOR 25 GLORIOUS YEARS Virginia City was the leading city in Nevada and the brightest and most important settlement between Denver and San Francisco. Then came 75 bad years during which mining production slowed, became small-scale and sporadic and, upon the Presidential Order of 1942, finally stopped. The city shriveled over those years. Buildings collapsed or were torn down and people moved away. But not everyone. Virginia City never quite died.
And so it is the real deal, not some learned reimagining. The actual Mark Twain made his name here, and walked these board sidewalks. The actual Edwin Booth, Lilly Langtry and John Philip Sousa performed at Piper’s Opera House for actual audiences eager for the best.
The actual Ulysses S. Grant came grandly in a carriage from the railroad depot to the International Hotel on his return to the USA from a world tour. This was “The Richest Place on Earth”, and it sparked the imagination of the world as nothing had done since the California gold rush. These mines on a mountain made of silver and gold brought people from around the world, and the city they built is their monument to this wealth, both real and imagined.
Into the 1920s and ’30s this was still an increasingly ramshackle city of old-timers, and then newcomers began to appear. V.L. McBride opened the Bucket of Blood Saloon in 1937. Dominic Petrini traded his El Capitan in Hawthorne for the Delta Saloon in 1946. Four years later Lucius Beebe and Chuck Clegg revived the Territorial Enterprise and made it nationally popular. Virginia City was being rediscovered.
But it was in 1962 that Virginia City became internationally famous again, this time as the setting for the immensely popular “Bonanza” television program.
Virginia City holds a special place in the heart and the history of the American West, and despite our increasing distance from the glory years, Virginia City’s antic history can come to life in your imagination when you visit.
“Entering the main street,” Browne wrote, “the saloons along the board sidewalks are glittering with their gaudy bars and fancy glasses, and many-colored liquors, and thirsty men are swilling burning poison: organ grinders are grinding their organs and torturing their consumptive monkeys; hurdy-gurdy girls are singing bacchanalian songs in bacchanalian dens. All is life, excitement, avarice, lust, devilry, and enterprise.”
The old city is one of the largest National Historic Landmarks in the USA, and welcomes visitors the year around.
This May, top chili cooks gather for the 39th annual Chili on the Comstock. Combined with a Craft Beer Tour featuring pours from our local saloons and award-winning craft breweries, it’s the most delicious and satisfying event of the year. Chili cookers are competing to win your vote for the best chili and people’s choice […]Find out more »
The Memorial Day Celebration of Heroes Parade honors all the men and women of the military who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The parade is held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Join Virginia City as we pay tribute and honor the great servicemen and servicewomen. Parade Entry Form For more […]Find out more »
Reno's Neon Line, Tahoe, Carson City and Virginia City, NV Street Vibrations Spring Rally condenses the excitement of Street Vibrations into one weekend in downtown Reno area at our new venue located at Reno's Neon Line District next to the Sands Regency Casino Hotel. It's the 12th annual event and will include live entertainment, Good […]Find out more »
Women with Wheelz Car Show returns to Virginia City. Open to the first 120 cars, the classic car show includes food, music, giveaways, static displays, a Department of Traffic and Safety display, Sister on the Fly local ladies, raffle prizes benefiting local organizations and so much more. Click here to go to the Women with […]Find out more »
Cowboy Poet, humorist, storyteller, historian, entertainer, public speaker, writer, emcee an’ ambassador o’ “COWBOY POETRY”. Tony Argento calls his style o’ recitin’; ‘TUNED UP & TWISTED.” Once you see him perform, you’ll know why. A common statement heard from the audience is; ” He’s quite animated”. He does voice animation an’ vocal sound effects an’ […]Find out more »
Reno, Tahoe, Carson City & Virginia City, Nevada Street Vibrations Motorcycle Festival is a celebration of music, metal and motorcycles, offering poker runs, live entertainment, ride-in shows, stunt and bike shows and more to more than 35,000 riding enthusiasts. This event is so big, it rocks at several locations throughout the region. Major event venues […]Find out more »