Piper’s Opera House – NSHM #236

Piper’s Opera House – NSHM #236 is Nevada State Historic Marker #235 and is located in Virginia City, Storey County Nevada.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Piper’s Opera House - NSHM #236, one of the largest venues for theater and performance on the Comstock. -  - University of California, Davis. Dept. of Special Collections.
Piper’s Opera House, one of the largest venues for theater and performance on the Comstock. – – University of California, Davis. Dept. of Special Collections.

HSHM #236 Text

This building, the most significant vintage theatre in the West, was erected by John Piper in 1885.  Third in a succession of theatres which he operated on the Comstock, Piper’s Opera House, with its original scenery, raked stage, and elegant proscenium boxes, is a remarkable survivor of a colorful era in American theatrical history.  Many popular nineteenth-century touring stars and concert artists appeared here.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 236
DIVISION OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND ARCHEOLOGY
LOUISE Z. DRIGGS

Nevada State Historic Marker #236 Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker236
NamePiper’s Opera House
LocationVirginia City, Storey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.31094, -119.65016

References

African Americans and the Boston Saloon – NSHM #266

William A G Brown - Owner of the Boston Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada
William A G Brown – Owner of the Boston Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada

African Americans and the Boston Saloon – NSHM #266 is a Nevada State Historic Marker Located in Virginia City, Storey County, Nevada. Virginia City has eight Nevada State Historic Markers and a wonderful location to visit and dive deep into history.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

William A G Brown, a freeman, moved to Nevada and started the Boston Saloon. The Boston Saloon was located at the intersection of D and Union Streets . The Virginia City newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise called the saloon a “popular resort for many of the colored population”

The saloon building is lost the great fire of 1875. The site of the saloon was subject of an archeological excavation in the year 2000.

NSHM #266 Text

Between 1866 and 1875, a remarkable business thrived in Virginia City.  Free-born William A.G. Brown operated the Boston Saloon, serving Virginia City’s African Americans.  Archaeologists have revealed that Brown offered his customers finely prepared meals with the best cuts of meat.  Shortly after Brown sold his business, the great fire of 1875 swept through town and destroyed the building.

There were rarely more than one hundred African Americans living in Virginia City during its height in the 1860s, but they played varied and important roles in the community. Some African Americans pursued work as laborers, porters, and barbers.  Others became affluent business owners, and a prominent doctor won widespread respect.  By the 1870’s, African American children attended integrated schools. However, the decline of mining by 1880 sent many Nevadans, including African Americans, elsewhere. When mining in the state revived in the early 1900s, a shift at the federal, state, and local levels that implemented segregation via law or practice kept most African American families from returning to communities like Virginia City.

The site of the Boston Saloon is located uphill and to the left of this location at the corner of Union and D Streets now occupied by the Bucket of Blood Saloon parking lot.

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
DON MCBRIDE AND THE BUCKET OF BLOOD SALOON
RENO-SPARKS BRANCH OF THE NAACP, UNIT #1112
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 266

Nevada State History Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker266
NameAfrican Americans and the Boston Saloon
LocationVirginia City, Storey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.31054, -119.64942

References

Savage Mansion – NSHM #87

Savage Mansion – NSHM #87 is Nevada State Historic Marker #87 and located in Historic Virginia City, Storey County, Nevada. Virginia City is a wonderful little town to visit and home to Eight Nevada State Historic Markers.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Nevada State Historic Marker #87

This elegant mansion, designed in the French Second Empire style, served as a residence for the superintendent, as well as a mine office for the Savage Mining Company.  The first floor served as the mine office while the upper two stories provided a residence for many successful superintendents.

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States and “General of the Armies,” spoke to the townspeople from the second floor balcony on October 27, 1879, after a town parade in his honor.

STATE HISTORIC MARKER No. 87
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
NEVADA LANDMARK SOCIETY

Marker Summary

Nevada State History Marker87
NameSavage Mansion
LocationVirginia City, Storey County Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.30537, -119.65106

References

Keane Wonder Mine – “King of the Desert”

The Keane Wonder Mine is perhaps the most visited gold mining facility in Death Valley National Park in eastern California. Mining operations began in December 0f 1903 by Jack Keane. Keane and his partner Domingo Etcharren while Keane was prospecting in the Chloride Cliffs of the Funeral mountains. The names was originally called “Keane’s Wonder” when gold and silver were found.

Keane Wonder Mine - 1916 - Quartz mill. Mine said to have produced $1,000,000. Closed May 1916 as the developed ore bodies were worked out.
Keane Wonder Mine – 1916 – Quartz mill. Mine said to have produced $1,000,000. Closed May 1916 as the developed ore bodies were worked out.

Trying to raise capital, Keane and Etharren sold options to Joseph DeLamar from New York. Despite modest gold production, DeLamar quite his claims. It was not until 1906 when Homer Wilson and John Campbell bought into the mine that operations really starting producing. Homer Wilson was also involved in founding nearby Chloride City.

1907 saw the full operations in place. Operationally, the mine build a tramway up into the mountains, which was used to haul 70 tons of gold rich ore each day. The tramway climbed into the mountains over 1500 feet in elevation and was over one mile long.

The Keane Wonder mine survived the Panic of 1907. Operationally, the lack of water and high desert heat caused the mine to operated in the cooler air of the desert night. The mine continued until 1912, when it was sold and subsequently closed.

The Keane Wonder Mine was included in the founding of Death Valley National Monument. The popular site was closed to visitors by the NPS in 2008 over fears of collapse of underground tunnels, toxins and the structural stability of the cables used in the tramway. The location was opened to the public again in 2017.

Today, the aerial tramway, stamp mill, storage containers and assorted artifacts litter the grounds.

Resources

Keane Wonder Mine Trail Map

Cook Bank Building

The Cook Bank Building is the most iconic image and popular images of the Rhyolite ghost town, in Nye County, Nevada. When John S. Cook built his bank to three stories, it inspired John Overbury to add a third floor to his Overbury building located just down Golden Street. The structure is centrally located in the remains of the town, and photographically, very interesting. Partially for this reason, the structure is a common choice for filming locations, and even appeared in an Alanis Morissette music video.

Rhyolite, Nevada photo by James L Rathbun
Rhyolite, Nevada photo by James L Rathbun

The Cook Bank is to most iconic building in Rhyolite and one of the most photographed ruins in Nevada.

John Cook and his brother started the John S. Cook & Company Bank in Goldfield, Nevada in January 1905. Later that same year the opened a new branch in Rhyolite. The banks first location was in a rented building on Main Street. After buying a lot on Golden Street, construction of the Cook Bank Building in the spring of 1907.

One of four banks in Rhyolite, the Cook Bank Building was by far the finest. Build of poured concrete, the building was three stories tall and had a basement that housed the Post Office. The interior was finished with marble staircases and mahogany accents. It also boasted modern conveniences such as electric lights and indoor plumbing

Despite its opulence, the Cook Bank was open less that two years. In the summer and fall of 1907, a financial crisis, often referred to as the Knickerboxer Crisis, caused banks across the country to go bankrupt. By 1910, the Cook Bank was closed and John Cook had sold off all of the building’s fixtures.

Since the closured of the Cook Bank, the building has appeared in many movies including: The Air Mail, The Arrogant, Cherry 2000, The island, Delusion, Ramona!, The Reward, Wanderer of the Wasteland, Six-string Samurai, Rough Rider’s Round Up, Bone Dry, Ultraviolet and more..

BLM Plaque – Rhyolite, Nevada
Cook Bank Building, Rhyolite Nevada, Photo marked 1908 and "Courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society"
Cook Bank Building, Rhyolite Nevada, Photo marked 1908 and “Courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society”

Cook Bank Building Map

References