Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Virginia City

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VIRGINIA CITY, the county seat of Storey county, Nevada, U.S., and the largest and most important city of the State, is situated upon the steep rugged eastern slope of Mount Davidson, about 6300 feet above sea-level. A branch line connects it with the Central Pacific Railroad at Reno. Virginia City is built over the great Comstock lode, the mineral vein which has yielded probably more of the precious metals than any other single deposit in the world (see vol. xxiii. p. 815). With the varying fortunes of this lode the prosperity of Virginia City is intimately connected. It was founded in 1859, and in 1860 its inhabitants numbered 2345. In 1861 it received a city charter. It continued to increase until towards the end of that decade, when the falling off in the receipts from the mines caused a partial exodus from the town, and the census of 1870 showed only 7048 inhabitants. The discovery of the “great bonanza” in 1875 produced a return of prosperity, but this was but transient, and before the next census the city was again on the wane. In 1880 the census showed 10,917 inhabitants, — nearly half of foreign birth, and about 5 per cent. Chinese. Since the last census the population has, in all probability, not increased. The city is laid out rather irregularly, conforming to some extent to the surface of the mountain side. Some streets have been graded, at great expense, as it involved much rock cutting.