Virginia City Overview
Some folks made a fortune here. But what they left behind was priceless!
Virginia City offers one of the most fascinating stories of any town in Southwest Montana. At one time the most important city in the Territory and little more than a ghost town at another, today Virginia City provides one of the most well preserved and approachable glimpses into Montana’s gold rush days.
In 1863, a group of six men discovered gold in Alder Creek. Within weeks, nine mining camps had sprung up along the fourteen miles of the Alder Gulch. The richest and most famous of these camps became Virginia City. With the establishment of the Montana Territory the next year, Virginia City became the second territorial capital, as well as one of the most prominent cities in the Rocky Mountains. Although prospectors extracted the modern-day equivalent of forty billion dollars from the Alder gulch, by 1875 Virginia City had mostly died. A local named Charles Bovey began purchasing and restoring many of the buildings during the 1940s, and in 1961 Virginia City was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Today, Virginia City offers modern amenities in an old west atmosphere. Dine in the Star Bakery or enjoy a brew at the Bale of Hay Saloon. Visit some of the 150 National Historic Landmarks contained within Virginia City and nearby Nevada City, ride the Alder Gulch Short Line to watch the living history reenactments in Nevada City. A stop at the old-fashioned candy store will haunt your taste buds as thoroughly as history haunts the town. After a long but wonderful day of exploring Virginia City’s rich history, relax at a performance of the Virginia City Players, or enjoy libations and the Brewery Follies at Montana’s first brewery the H.S. Gilbert Brewery.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, this town is sure to surprise and delight.