Sunday, November 9, 2014

Virginia City, Nevada

 We decided to spend a morning in Virginia City, Nevada to see the sights during our vacation to western Nevada. We had originally planned to go in the afternoon to catch the Nevada Day Parade, an evening train, and some trick-or-treating, but the forecasted bad weather had us change our plans. It turned out nice to beat the crowds, as I'm sure Virginia City can get very crowded. It's mainly a one-street town (although a few side streets exist). It's got a historic look, with a wood-sidewalk downtown and lots of storefronts that look quaint until you see the kitsch they're selling inside. As you might guess, it wasn't my favorite place.

Nevertheless, Virginia City did hold some bright spots for me. One was the Comstock Fire Museum. They had some beautiful old hose carts that were pulled by horses. They also had a lot of really old displays. I thought some of the old uniforms looked like superhero uniforms.

I also learned something about fire extinguishers. The first ones were glass balls filled with salt water. A person could throw the ball at the base of the fire, the glass would break, and hopefully the water would put out the fire. (The salt kept the water from freezing in the winter.)

Another fantastic spot was St. Mary in the Mountains Church. It was originally built about 1870, burned down in 1875, and was rebuilt in 1876 even bigger and grander than before. The mines put in money for the rebuilding, as the priest had offered to dynamite the new church to serve as a firebreak in the terrible fire of 1875 (that ultimately burned over 2,000 buildings). In the end, they didn't blow up the church, but it burned anyway when embers fell on the roof.

The interior is magnificent, with high ceilings and lots of great details in the wood.

The parish church was built to accommodate 3,000 families. Now only about 30 attend. Virginia City is past its hey-dey as a mining town. Its Wild West look keep people coming to visit.

Another place we found interesting was the Mackay Mansion, where we went for a guided tour. The Mackays were very interesting people.

I think the kids' favorite part was helping feed the chickens in the backyard after the tour.

We wanted to go on a train ride, but because it was Nevada Day they had changed the schedule. Maybe some other time.

There are other things to see in Virginia City, but we decided we'd rather go back to Carson City, where we met a friend and went trick-or-treating at the Governor's Mansion.

It was a fun experience to get handfuls of candy from the Governor of Nevada!

A professional photographer was taking photos of everyone who came for the trick-or-treating. Here's the photo from the Flickr page. She got a good one of the kids and me and our friend and Governor Sandoval.

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