Virginia City and Nevada City lie about a mile apart along Alder Gulch, the site of the richest placer gold strike in the Rocky Mountains. Most of the distance between is along a bird watching path along the creek.
Rich placer diggings were discovered in Alder Gulch in the spring of 1863 and the stampede of gold seekers and their parasites was on! Sluices soon lined the gulch and various “cities” blossomed forth as trading and amusement centers for free handed miners. Virginia City, the best known of these and the sole survivor, became the Capitol of the Territory.
While most of Virginia City is the original buildings Nevada City is mostly buildings moved in from other locations. In 1896, the Conrey Placer Mining Company was organized to dredge the gulch for the next 24 years, destroying many of Nevada City’s buildings. The dredges were then disassembled and the heavy wooden barges were left to slowly be reclaimed by nature. Other original Nevada City buildings were destroyed when the highway was built through the area. Over the years 14 original structures were preserved and remain in Nevada City, the majority of the buildings present today, were moved into the Nevada City Street plan by Charlie Bovey, the heir to the General Mills fortune. Restoration started in the 1950s, following his purchase of the property from the Stiles family.
The murder of Nicholas Tbalt and the trial of George Ives began the vigilante movement in Montana. News that George Ives had been seen with the dead man’s mules and had been heard to say that Tbalt would never trouble anyone again incensed citizens all along the 14-mile length of Alder Gulch. So incensed by this crime 25 men pledged mutual support to each other and rode out to capture George Ives. At the time of the murder Montana was not a state or even a Territory. Virginia City did have a sheriff. Unfortunately for George Ives, the Sheriff has heard rumors that a large body of vigilantes was also planning to come after “the Sheriff himself”. Being more concerned for his own skin than that of George Ives he stayed away from the trial. As a result, George Ives was found guilty of murder and was hanged while vigilante guards with loaded shotguns prevented Ives’ friends from rescuing him.
Both of these “ghost” towns are now owned by the State of Montana and are registered historical sites. The people living and running businesses here pay rent to the state.
We visited both cemeteries.
These are just random shots from Virginia City that don’t seem to have a category.