Explore a Bustling Nevada 'Ghost Town' - Atlas Obscura

Explore a Bustling Nevada ‘Ghost Town’

History comes alive in Virginia City.

Nevada is famous for its ghost towns. There’s Rhyolite, where crumbling, abandoned structures mingle with contemporary outsider art. And there’s Hamilton, known for its picturesque, receding stone structures (notably, a stately, freestanding arch that’s survived even though the bank it once supported hasn’t). These deserted settlements are relics of the state’s 19th-century mining boom and bust.

Virginia City may be the most unusual of all of Nevada’s ghost towns. But to call Virginia City a “ghost town” is a mischaracterization. Though its permanent population has dwindled from around 25,000 in the 1870s to 900 today, the town receives about 2 million visitors per year, eager for a glimpse into the past. Preservation efforts have kept some of Virginia City’s most-storied structures alive, many open to the public.

The site of the largest silver strike the world has ever seen, Virginia City has found a new resource to mine: its rich history. Watch the video above to tour some of the town’s most intriguing sites.

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