Virginia City was the richest city in the world from the1860s to 1880s. About 20 billion dollars (in today's values) came from its mines.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia City


In the mineral "Rush of 1863," what was the population of Virginia City?
The population mushroomed to 15,000 people.

How many people live in Virginia City today?
At last count, 1,200 people live in Virginia City.

How many saloons were in Virginia City during its heyday?
There were over 100 saloons – one drinking establishment for every 32 people.

Were motion pictures filmed in Virginia City?
Yes, a notable one starred Humphrey Bogart in 1940. Then, the television show "Bonanza" came on the scene in 1959, when it premiered in Virginia City's Piper's Opera House, the playhouse which still stands. Although "Bonanza" was never filmed in Virginia City, the mining town was featured in the show.

What did Virginia City residents do for fun in the winter?
They entertained themselves with sleigh rides in the streets.

How many towns were in the Comstock?
There were 22 towns of the mining and milling Comstock, including Virginia City.

How hot is Virginia City in the summer?
Summertime temperatures in Virginia City range in the upper 70s to upper 90s.

What is the elevation of Virginia City?
Virginia City is 6,220 feet above sea level.

What was the biggest revenue-making mine in Virginia City?
John Mackay's Consolidated Virginia mine was considered one of the richest in the "Big Bonanza" group of mines that raked in $300 million.

How much gold and silver was found in Virginia City?
More than $700 million was pulled from the mines of the Comstock in a period of 25 years. This amount is split almost evenly between gold and silver.

When did Virginia City mines stop being profitable?
In 1880, Virginia City prospectors and investors noticed a downfall called a "Barrasa," which is Spanish for a mining depression.

Is there mining going on today?
Yes, mining operations still exist but not with the magnitude of the 1800s.

How long did Mark Twin live here?
Mark Twain lived on the Comstock for about two years from 1862. He returned for a temporary visit later in the decade.

Is there a place where a visitor may see famous people?
The Silver Terrace Cemetery at the end of town provides an enlightening walk through history with its textbook summary of the people who built the Comstock. Interesting footnotes like: "I told you I was sick" can be found on the tombstones of the gravesites as indicated in "Voices of the Past," a walking tour the Comstock Cemetery Foundation puts on.

Is Virginia City's haunted past featured anywhere?
Yes, "The Ghosthunters Guide to Virginia City" brings the haunted history to life, including excerpts from tales in Piper's Opera House, the Fourth Ward School, Gold Hill Hotel and Mackay Mansion.

How do I contact you if I lost something in Virginia City?
Lost & Found:  If you lost an item during your visit to Virginia City, please click HERE