Chollar Mansion Audio Tour
The Chollar mansion was built between 1861 and 1863 as the head office of the Chollar Mine and the residence of the mine superintendent. The building was designed by N. J. Colman in an Italianate style, and constructed by H. S. Hill.
It was discovered in 1870 that the building was sinking due to the settling of the terrain above the mine. At that time, the three-story building was dismantled and rebuilt at its present location. It is anchored to its foundation with steel tie rods and contains a three-story cantilevered staircase.
The mansion was originally commissioned by Billy Chollar, the discoverer of the Chollar Silver Lode in 1861. Shortly thereafter, he lost both his mine and his home to the newly established Bank of California, and left Virginia City in 1862.
A special feature of the mansion is the 164-square-foot arched vault that once stored millions in gold and silver bullion. Another is the paymaster’s booth, where each month the miners came to draw their pay.
Prior to the construction of the highway bypass there were formal gardens in front of this building which ran uphill to C Street. The gardens featured two curved driveways leading down to the building and a small fountain.
The Chollar Office building was only a small part of the total Chollar (later Chollar-Potosi) mine works. The main mine complex was located to the south east of the office building and featured large pumps and hoisting machinery, massive water storage tanks, a machine shop, a carpentry shop, a blacksmith shop, a buggy and wagon shop, livery, assay and other offices, a changing room for the miners and storage. All of these facilities are long since demolished.