August 39-September 2, 2009 - Virginia City/Nevada City, MT

We left Missoula Sunday morning and drove to Virginia City, MT. We are staying in the Virginia City RV Park about a half mile outside of town. We will stay here for a few days and tour Virginia City and Nevada City.

It rained most of the night and Monday morning was cool and cloudy. We drove into Virginia City and spent the day walking around and looking at the shops. Virginia City was a mining camp in the 1860’s and is now considered a ghost town even though it has 150 residents. The town is managed by the Montana Heritage Preservation and Development Commission and preservation projects are ongoing. They have moved a lot of original buildings from area mining towns to recreate Virginia City as it was in the late 1800’s. Many of the buildings have displays such as a general store, a clothing store, a blacksmith shop and a newspaper from that era. Many of the buildings had ongoing tourist type businesses in them.

We even found Bob’s Place! Bob was a miner who was disabled in a mine explosion. Even though he lost his sight he was able to run his store and bar – he was able to pour and measure drinks by sound.

Tuesday we went to Nevada City which is a 1½ miles West of Virginia City. It is smaller than Virginia City and the entire town except for a motel and a restaurant is an outdoor living museum with over 70 historic buildings – again managed by the Montana Heritage Preservation and Development Commission. We enjoyed Nevada City more than Virginia City because it is less commercialized. There is a music hall filled with historic music machines from 1890-1920 – organs and player pianos. Some of them still work and you could play them for either a dime or a quarter.

After enjoying the music hall we walked down the streets and looked at the buildings, many of which had displays in them. We even found a two storey outhouse.

This house was one of the larger, nicer houses and had period furnishings in the rooms.

This house was not part of the museum but we thought it was interesting.

After we had lunch we walked over to the Railroad Depot where they have a small train that runs between Virginia City and Nevada City. They have a Baldwin steam engine but only run it on weekends. Rex started talking to the lady in the depot and mentioned working on the Cumbres Toltec Railroad. She closed the depot store and took us to the engine house and showed us the engine and talked trains with Rex.

Wednesday we took a scenic loop drive to Alder, Twin Bridges, Harrison, Ennis and back to Virginia City. This is mostly ranch country with a lot of hay and wheat fields and cattle. We stopped in Ennis and had a picnic lunch in the park beside the Madison River.

The campground has been really quiet; only one or two other rigs have come and gone. We have seen a doe and two fawns every morning and evening. It has been a nice relaxing stay and tomorrow we are heading to West Yellowstone.


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