When I lived in Reno, I used to take an occasional journey up to Virginia City, about 10 miles up a winding narrow road, and go back in time. Virginia City was a little mining town during the 1870's gold rush. It really couldn't be much different now, than it was then. The little main street is still bordered on both sides by the stores that a mining/booming town would need. There's a store or two for supplies, a church, a barber shop, a casino (really just a bar with gambling amenities), more bars, a newspaper office (Mark Twain was the first publisher of print here), more gambling rooms, and well, more bars.

It all began in 1857, when the Grosh Brothers discovered gold in six-mile canyon, but Henry T. P. Comstock became the claimant when the brothers died. Prospectors began to arrive in groves, and Virginia City was one of many mining camps in the area. Of course one of the major differences between now and then is, now the roads are paved, not dirt. Back then, when the dirt turned to mud, it was of a blue-greyish color, foreboding what was beneath; Silver!

It was silver which began what became the Comstock Lode, and the little mining camp became Virginia City and the territory became a state (Nevada), thanks to Lincoln, who needed the Comstock Lode to finance the Civil War.

In it's days of glory, railroads connected Virginia City to Reno and Carson City, (now the state's capital). It had a Shakespearean theatre, 2 newspapers, a very busy "red light district", lots of police, a miner's union, a firestation, opium dens and gambling.

Like I say, not much different than today.

Source: me and http://www.desertusa.com/Cities/nv/nv_virginiacity.html

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