Friday, May 30, 2014

A step into the past...

All aboard!  Those wonderful two words that are such favorites of ours!  "All aboard for Virginia City!" the Conductor was calling out now, as we were boarding the V& T Railroad in Carson City Nevada the "Opening Day" over Memorial Day weekend.  They had brought out all the celebrations for it too.  Costumed folks to shoot at each other, and play their antics, ladies dressed in their early 1900's finest, music and even served us mimosas as we waited to board!

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad is the most famous of all American Short Line railroads. Construction began in 1869 and in the ensuing 74 years the busy mountain railroad hauled millions of dollars in gold and silver ore from the mines deep below Virginia City. The scenic railroad was rebuilt in 1974.  The trip to Virginia City is about an hour and a half, then they give you about three and a half hours to enjoy the city and then they take you back again.  It's a great stream train, and it moves very slowly with little rocking.  The trip itself doesn't have a lot of scenery, but the Conductor makes it pretty interesting with all his stories and side notes.  He shared that the Comstock Mine, being the largest, and one of the oldest, is not producing much...but, if you are interested in some stock, he has plenty of shares he's willing to sell...cheep!  One of the best mines there, most productive, not gold, not silver...but gypsum
Comstock Mine

Gypsum Mine
Virginia City was a hoot.  They were having their local Memorial Day Parade, and it looked it.  Very homey and cute.  Fun to see something from a very small town, all "home made", all inexpensive, all local and family-style.  Short & sweet.  The town itself was for the tourists, that I expected, but I loved it just the same!  After all that's what I came for!  We did go to the one museum (recommended by the Conductor) that was very historical and that was the The Fourth Ward School built in1875.  It is the last of the all wooden (4 stories) schools still remaining, and in such great condition!  They used a couple of the rooms for the history of Virginia City & it's mining and the others as school rooms.  Desks, blackboards etc had all been preserved.  Remarkable really.  Very little preservation had to be done to it.  The fourth floor wasn't open to the public, but they had pictures of it for viewing, still in pretty good condition.  

We had lunch in the old Palace Saloon, also build in 1875.  Fun to see the old lights and floorboards, even the nice long bar.  Food was really good too (surprisingly enough!).  They do a really good job of keeping up the old buildings.  There are electrical wires strung from one end to the other outside of the buildings (makes for lousy pictures) but they keep the authenticity of the insides up as best they can, which is really great.  I read someplace it's in their bylaws or something (good for them!).  

On the return trip we were able to catch some wild mustangs grazing at the old Gold Hill Cemetery, which was kind of cool.  I also spotted a very small private cemetery up on a hill off in a distance that some family must have created long ago.  Two very, very small towns (double digits) were passed along the way as well, Gold Hill (we stopped and picked up two passengers there) and Silver City.  Who, pray tell, would live all they way out in the middle of nowhere?  Maybe those gypsum miners....hmm

Gild Hill City NV
Silver City NV

  After we returned to Carson City and the last of the whistle blew, we decided to drive into that city, after all it is the capital of Nevada, and see it as well.  What a disappointment.  Other than the Capitol buildings and the Governor's Mansion, the rest of the city is sad.  There is suppose to be a "historical mansion walk/drive" but it was hard to follow, so we gave up.  Not much of a city really.  I took a couple of pictures of as much as I could, and we left and went back to our base camp in Reno.  Much more there to see.  All in all...a really nice day tho...
State of Nevada Capitol, Carson City NV
State of Nevada Capitol, Carson City NV
Rinckel Mansion (c1876), Carson City NV
....on the road in Nevada,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

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