Virginia City – Nevada – a ghost town come to life

When Papa Joe and Grandma Jacqui travel we are always on the lookout for great places to take the munchkins. Virginia City certainly ticks all the boxes.

What an atmospheric place, it is so easy to use your imagination to see what it was like in the 1860s.  It became one of the richest towns in America after silver ore was discovered here.

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Just strip away the cars and power lines and you are left with the wooden boardwalks, saloons and grand buildings of the Victorian era. There is even an opera house which you can visit.

virginia city 2As the silver ran out, the miners left and Virginia City became a ghost town – which is now being restored and has become a National Historic Landmark.

Visit The Virginia City Visitors pages, which tells you about the tours you can take and attractions to visit, as well as places to eat and stay. We had been staying in nearby Carson City and were on route to Yosemite so only had a few hours to spend here but we still managed to wander around the streets and soak up the atmosphere.

Our first stop was the delightful ‘Way It Was Museum‘, which is full of exhibits and memorabilia from Virginia City’s glory days.

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We then moseyed along down to The Ponderosa Saloon on ‘C’ Street.

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Memories memories – ‘Bonanza’ was Papa Joe’s favourite TV program when he was a munchkin and he uses the theme tune as his ringtone! (For you youngsters – Bonanza was set on the ‘nearby’ fictional Ponderosa Ranch and the plot lines often involved visits to Virginia City.)

virginia city ponderosa saloon 2The Ponderosa Saloon is home to the The Ponderosa Silver Mine Tour.  The saloon was originally the Bank of California and still has a huge walk-in bank vault.

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The Ponderosa Silver Mine Tour starts at the back of the saloon.

The saloon is built into the hill behind it so we had an easy walk through the tunnels.

We were issued with hard hats; because we are both short we did not need them as the tunnels are a reasonable height.

The tour was really interesting and great for young and old.

After the tour we then ambled back along C Street, wandering into other buildings. At one time there were over 115 bars and saloons. Now many have been converted into restaurants, coffee bars, shops and museums.

Do go into The Silver Queen Saloon and be amazed the portrait of the “Silver Queen”. The dress is made up of 3,261 silver dollars. The Silver Queen is also a hotel and wedding chapel.

The author Mark Twain was a reporter on the local ‘Territorial Enterprise’ newspaper and there are several places in Virginia City where you can see memorabilia connected to him. virginia city mark twain Our final stop was the Firemen’s Museum. The historic fire engines are beautifully kept and there are knowledgeable volunteers on hand to chat about the exhibits. virginia city fireman museum Papa Joe and I were sorry that we only had a few hours to spend here and we will definitely be back to take some of the other tours and see some of the other sites

Getting There
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