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

The Comstock Lode – NSHM #13

The Comstock Lode – NSHM #13 is Nevada State Historic Marker #13 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.

"Mining on the Comstock", depicting the headframes and mills of the various mines, and mining technology used at Comstock, most prominently the method of square-set timbering developed there to work the veins. -T.L. Dawes (drawing); Le Count Bros., San Fransisco (lithographers)
“Mining on the Comstock”, depicting the headframes and mills of the various mines, and mining technology used at Comstock, most prominently the method of square-set timbering developed there to work the veins. -T.L. Dawes (drawing); Le Count Bros., San Fransisco (lithographers)

Nevada State History Marker #13

Near this spot was the heart of the Comstock Lode, the fabulous 2 ½ mile deposit of high-grade ore that produced nearly $400,000.00 in silver and gold.  After the discovery in 1859, Virginia City boomed for 20 years, helped bring Nevada into the union in 1864 and to build San Francisco.

Several major mines operated during the boom.  Their sites are today marked by large yellow dumps, several of which are visible from here – the Sierra Nevada a mile to your left, the Union, Ophir, Con Virginia and, on the high hill to the southeast, the combination.  The Lode was worked from both ends, north up Gold Canyon and south from the Sierra Nevada Utah mines.

NEVADA CENTENNIAL MARKER NO. 13
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

The Comstock Lode – NSHM #13 Summary

Nevada State History Marker13
NameThe Comstock Load
LocationVirginia City, Storey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.31668, -119.64736

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

Samuel Langhorne Clemens – “Mark Twain”

Before he wrote American classic novels as Mark Twain, Samuel Langhorne Clemens was a miner and newpaper reporter in Mineral County, Nevada. Prior to picking up his pen, Clemens moved from his birthplace in Hannibal, Missouri and found himself in the silver state. After his time in Nevada, he left to become the most loved American author, Mark Twain.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens September 1-2, 1867, Pera, Constantinople
Samuel Langhorne Clemens September 1-2, 1867, Pera, Constantinople

It is a well known fact that Samuel Clemmons first work was as a river boat pilot on the Mississippi river. This occupation was lost to him with the start of the Civil War. In 1861, Samuel followed his brother Orion to Nevada when his brother is appointed as Secretary of the Nevada Territory. Not long after his arrival in Carson City, Clemens is “Smitten with the silver feaver.” He and his brother started purchasing shares of mining operations in the Esmeralda Mining District. The principal town in this district was Aurora.

Filled with optimism, Samuel moved to Aurora in 1862. Upon his arrival he setup a camp and began working some of the claims he and his brother purchased. Despite his optimism, his work as a miner and investor did not produce and Clemens lives off an stipend set to him by his brother to cover the $10 per week living expenses. This failure was all too common among the hopeful people who travelled west.

Higbie and I were living in a cotton-domestic lean-to at the base of a mountain [Lover’s Leap]. It was very cramped quarters, with barely room for us and the stove – wretched quarters, indeed, for every now and then, between eight in the morning and eight in the evening, the thermometer would make an excursion of fifty degrees. We had a silver-mining claim under the edge of a hill [Last Change Hill] half a mile away in partnership with Bob Howland and Horatio Phillips, and we used to go there every morning, carrying with us our luncheon, and remain all day picking and blasting in a our shaft, hoping, despairing, hoping again, and gradually but surely running out of funds

Mark Twain, Roughing It

Ironically, his failure in mining started his career which produced some of the most important books in American history. While in Aurora, he started sending stories about a miner’s life to the Virginia City newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise, using the penname “Josh”. These stories opened a door to greatness, and he was appointed to a job as a local reporter by Joseph Goodman.

After leaving Aurora for Virginia City, Clemens starts down his road to success and becomes a popular newspaper reported. He submits his humorous and satirical stories using the name Mark Twain. Five years later, the man from Missouri wrote the story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavarous County” and Mark Twain became the American Story Teller.

I learned then, once and for all, that gold in its native state is but dull, the ornamental stuff, and that only low-born metals excited the admiration of the ignorant with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. Commonplace human nature cannot rise above that.

Mark Twain, Roughing It

Nevada State Historic Marker #28

100 years ago, in 1864, Samuel Clemens left the territorial enterprise, moving on to California and worldwide fame.  He was a reporter here in 1863 when he first used the name, Mark Twain.  He later described his colorful adventures in Nevada in “Roughing It.”

NEVADA CENTENNIAL MARKER NO. 28

PLACED BY

JAMES LENHOFF, 1960

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE

HSHM Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker28
NameMark Twain
LocationVirginia City, Storey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longititude39.31021, -119.64966

References

usda.gov