"My Virginia City"
by Grace Dean, a Virginia City Resident

Grace Dean has been afflicted since birth with a rare condition called "Joie de Vivre". To that end, she has travelled almost around the world in search of the joys of life. She attended a private school on the East Coast and received a very good education; but found that was not enough - and promptly decided to enroll in the School of Life and is mid-way toward her graduation. In her many travels, Grace came upon a mountain-top city called "Virginia City", Nevada (not Montana) and promptly fell in love. Waving goodbye to her family and friends, she drove cross-country to call this Magical City in the shadow of Mt. Davidson (originally called Sun Mountain) HOME. To this end, she will try her utmost to bring you the best attributes of this unique, indescribably beautiful city, caught between yester-year and the present.


Grace Dean's Articles
"The Elegant Life"
"The 4th of July in VC"
"Hot August Nights"
"Summer's End"
"The Richest city in the World"
"Christmas on the Comstock"
"The Dog Days of Summer"


Virginia City is a tiny, tiny City. The main street (“C” Street) is only about a mile long, plus or minus a few feet. By today’s standards, it would be considered a “hamlet”. But this small city has made a huge impact, not only in Nevada, California or for that matter, the West Coast. It has made an impact on the entire world. To back up what I say, you can ask anyone in Tokyo, Japan, if they’ve ever seen re-runs of Bonanza and they will invariably tell you “Ah-so! Veejiniaaa siteee”.

OK. Enough about the size of my newly-adopted home. (I was ambushed by Virginia City from Gotham). Now, down to the real nitty-gritty.

I am certain that most of you heard about the Gold Rush of 1850. Well, Gold Hill, NV, is where one of the largest, if not THE largest, vein of silver still resides (not as much gold, though). And so, to accommodate the influx of miners, their families, the painted ladies and then the millionaires, The Gold Hill Hotel evolved from a small lodging into what it is today. It sits directly in front of the Yellow Jacket Mine. (All of this is background information so you’ll know where to go and get YOUR dose of elegance).

In the present era, every Tuesday evening, there are lectures given by varied people on diversified topics and not all are about the wild, wild west either. For a small charge of $15.00, you get a terrific buffet dinner AND the lecture. If you want to attend just the lecture, the charge is a mere $5.00. It just so happens that this past Tuesday, the lecture was, of all things, about GOLD HILL. Gold Hill is not just the hotel; the entire area is known as Gold Hill. It was a bustling place of about 20,000 people, but you can learn all about the historic past in Greg MacMaster’s book. You can take lodgings at the hotel, browse their extensive book store or just meander through the very haunted rooms upstairs (provided there are no sleeping guests in them).

And now, on to Virginia City, up over The Divide (not that far away – just sounds formidable) about 5 minutes, and on to Piper’s Opera House (on “B” Street). It is a historic landmark, as is all of Virginia City. The Opera House is a must see, even though restoration is in progress. You can well imagine and see, the opulence and grandeur of the past. It appears to be small because of the height of the ceilings; but trust me, it can accommodate comfortably, about 300 people. Did so at the Governor’s Ball last October.

Naturally, I am about to segue into a performance of THE ROSE OF SHARON at Piper’s Opera House, August 27 and 28 and September 3 and 4, by The Gold Hill Theatre Troupe. (call for reservations 775-847-0111). The Troupe rivals any Off Broadway.

Now, if your desires stir you to enjoy a performance al fresco (because you just hate dressing up), Virginia City and Gold Hill can accommodate you in that regard. On many given nights in the hot, steamy month of August, the Troupe has an event called “SHAKESPEARE ON THE ROCKS” and will proudly present “The Taming of the Shrew”. I cannot think of a much better way to enjoy a cool performance, in a beautiful gazebo in the cool of the evening (Gold Hill and Virginia City are both about 10 degrees cooler than either Carson City or Reno). Again, reservations are required.

There is only one requirement, though when you visit or stroll through Virginia City early in the morning, while you are on vacation and Just, JUST, have to drink in EVERYTHING in one day – please don’t ask the locals “WHEN DOES THE TOWN OPEN?” It’s the “Comstock”! To better understand the true meaning of the term “Comstock Time”, you have to stop by the Red Dog Saloon (yes, it is closed, and yes, it is for sale), the sign in the front window will explain it all (if it’s still there. It was as of this writing).

And, in closing, may I remind you that as you walk the Boardwalk and into many of these fine establishments, let’s say, The Washoe Club, for instance, that John Mackay (one of the Bonanza Kings) and Mark Twain (ya, ya, ya – Huck Finn) once sat there snifting brandy and discussing world affairs.

Now, who says there is nothing to do in Virginia City? This is only a beginning of my “written” tour of VC and it’s surroundings. Until my next chapter and verse, enjoy.