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Virginia City Historic District

Virginia City, Nevada
County of Storey.
Virginia City
National Register Number: 66000458
Resource type: District.
Property type: Historic District: Historical. The threat level was Threatened in
Congressional District: NV-2 Certified Local Government: YES
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Current use/information: Historic District.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - July 4, 1961):
Virginia City was a prototype for frontier mining boom towns, owing its success to the 1859 discovery of Comstock Lode. This landmark includes the populated settlements of Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver City, and Dayton, as well as open land dotted with cultural landscape and archeological features associated with mining activities. The current highway follows the historic road that connected the settlements.

Several contributing buildings, a portion of the historic highway at Greiner's Bend, and the entire mountainside adjacent to Gold Hill are in danger of sliding into an inactive mining pit developed in the 1970s. The cumulative effect of contemporary surface mines within the central corridor of the district has been a gradual destruction and disintegration of the historic landscape that constitutes the visual heart of the historic district. Tourism-related commercial development, residential and recreation-oriented development, and vandalism continue to diminish the integrity of the Landmark. Vacant and under-utilized buildings, many of which are privately owned and are an integral part of Virginia City's Landmark significance, continue to deteriorate. The cemeteries at both Virginia City and Gold Hill suffer from vandalism, soil subsidence, and animal infestations. The Gold Hill cemetery is particularly threatened from erosion and would suffer under the proposed construction of a tourist railroad line. Many of the district's numerous archeological sites are deteriorating through natural processes and are being damaged and destroyed through human activities.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
A Cultural Landscape Report with a comprehensive list of resources in the district, including archeological and landscape elements, should be developed. An integrated planning process is needed to assist local and State planning bodies to balance ongoing mining and other activities with preservation of the district's cultural resources. The Comstock Cemetery Foundation has been formed to begin to address the specific issues of the cemeteries and is seeking grants to carry out its activities. Federal, state and local officials and the preservation community should contiue to educate the public about the value of the district's historic resources and to promote archeological research before the date are irretrievably lost.

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