Nevada City, Montana

Last updated
Nevada City, Montana
Madison County Montana Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Alder Highlighted.svg
Location of Nevada City, Montana
Coordinates: 45°18′27″N111°58′4.8″W / 45.30750°N 111.968000°W / 45.30750; -111.968000 Coordinates: 45°18′27″N111°58′4.8″W / 45.30750°N 111.968000°W / 45.30750; -111.968000
Country United States
State Montana
County Madison
Elevation
5,761 ft (1,756 m)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)

Nevada City ( /nəˈvdə/ nə-VAY-də) is an unincorporated community in Madison County, Montana, United States. In the 1880s, it was one of the two major centers of Commerce in what was known as one of the "Richest Gold Strikes in the Rocky Mountain West", sharing this role with its sister city Virginia City. Since the late 1990s, Nevada City has become a tourist attraction for its collection of 19th century buildings within or surrounding the Nevada City Museum & Music Hall.

Madison County, Montana County in the United States

Madison County is a county in the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 7,691. Its county seat is Virginia City. The county was founded in 1865; at the time it was part of the Montana Territory.

Virginia City, Montana Town in Montana, United States

Virginia City is a town in and the county seat of Madison County, Montana, United States. In 1961 the town and the surrounding area were designated a National Historic Landmark District, the Virginia City Historic District. The population was 190 at the 2010 census.

Contents

Nevada City, Montana as seen from the highway. Nevada City, Montana.JPG
Nevada City, Montana as seen from the highway.

History

Archaeological evidence found between the Music Hall and the Nevada City Hotel would indicate earlier than mining era habitation, possibly by white hunters or trappers. The earliest white hunters and trappers in the area had no conscious intention of establishing a city on the site, because the existence of a city would have presumably destroyed their economic base, which was based on the harvesting of beaver.

Mining The extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth

Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.

Beaver genus of mammals

The beaver is a large, primarily nocturnal, semiaquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, the North American beaver and Eurasian beaver (Eurasia). Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges (homes). They are the second-largest rodent in the world. Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material. The North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million. This population decline is the result of extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and because the beavers' harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses.

Nevada City, settled June 6, 1863, contemporary in settlement with Virginia City, as miners following the Fairweather party settled the length of Alder Gulch, and established homes, and businesses in convenient locations, the length of the gulch was known as 14 mile city. Nevada City was the first to become an incorporated city, on February 9, 1865, fully constituted a body corporate and politic. During the selection of Territorial Capitol Nevada City was considered with Bannack, and Virginia City for that distinction. The early city limits of Nevada City started 400 feet west of W. R. Lockwood’s house in Central City then went south ½ mile, West 1 ¾ mile, and then south to the place of beginning. (Leeson's History of Montana 1735-1885). Many of the early inhabitants moved on to other sites. In 1896, the Conrey Placer Mining Company was organized to dredge the gulch for the next 24 years, destroying many of Nevada City’s buildings. The dredges were then disassembled and the heavy wooden barges were left to slowly be reclaimed by nature. Other original Nevada City buildings were destroyed when the highway was built through the area. Over the years 14 original structures were preserved and remain in Nevada City, the majority of the buildings present today, were moved into the Nevada City Street plan by Charlie Bovey, of Bovey Restorations, the heir to the General Mills fortune (Blumenthal 2). Forrest "Scotty" Zion of the Great Falls business, Zion Construction and Housemoving, was a close friend of the Bovey's and moved the buildings form various locations. [1] Restoration started in the 1950s, following his purchase of the property from the Stiles family.

Gulch Deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion

In xeric lands, a gulch is a deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion. It may contain a small stream or dry creek bed and is usually larger in size than a gully. Sudden intense rainfall upstream may produce flash floods in the bed of the gulch.

General Mills American consumer goods manufacturer

General Mills, Inc., is an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. It is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. The company markets many well-known North American brands, including Gold Medal flour, Annie's Homegrown, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Colombo, Totino's, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Häagen-Dazs, Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Lucky Charms. Its brand portfolio includes more than 89 other leading U.S. brands and numerous category leaders around the world.

Present day

Today, the town is managed by the Montana Heritage Commission, Department of Commerce, State of Montana. Businesses in the town are Alder Gulch Accommodations, Nevada City Hotel and Cabins, Just an Experience Bed and Breakfast, The Star Bakery, and the Nevada City Hotel Coffee Shop. Some of the businesses are operational year round, others are operational during the summer season. The town has been restored as an outdoor living history historical museum, linked by railroad to the Virginia City Historic District with numerous historic buildings, artifacts, and furnishings. It is owned by the State of Montana and operated by the Montana Heritage Commission, with 108 historic buildings from various places around Montana, 14 original Nevada City structures.

Montana State of the United States of America

Montana is a landlocked state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently "The Last Best Place".

Virginia City Historic District (Virginia City, Montana)

The Virginia City Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District encompassing Virginia City, Montana, United States. Designated in 1966, the district includes over two hundred nineteenth-century buildings, representing the site of a major gold strike and the capital of Montana for ten years.

Nevada CIty is also home to North America’s largest collection of automated music machines which can be found in the Nevada City Music Hall (“Nevada City.”). The Bovey’s have been collecting the machines since 1940 and many of the machines are in excellent working condition (“Nevada City.”).

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Structures and inhabitants

The town consists of an open-air museum that includes 108 buildings, 14 buildings are original to the town site. Nevada City was populated by placer miners working several mining districts including Browns Gulch just south of the town and Granite Creek, about two miles northwest of Nevada City. Nevada City was occupied by residents as early as June 6, 1863, and its boom era was between 1863–1875, at this point it was boasted that Nevada City was home to dozens of stores and housing that stretched for six blocks (“Nevada City.”). By 1869, the population of the mining camp had fallen to about 100 people. In 1869 mercantile representation included three general stores, and two saloons. In April 1872, the city contained one miners' store, one brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, livery stable, and a Masonic Hall. Most of the citizens were engaged in mining pursuits, but some of the residents had farms and stock in the valley (Leeson 1885:783). In 1875 Nevada City's Population was still in decline, by 1880 the Nevada City census listed 50 people occupying 16 dwellings (US Census 1880). The most commonly listed occupation of Nevada City's working class was "placer miner."

Open-air museum museum that exhibits collections of buildings and artifacts out-of-doors

An open-air museum is a museum that exhibits collections of buildings and artifacts out-of-doors. It is also frequently known as a museum of buildings or a folk museum.

Placer mining technique of mining stream bed deposits for minerals

Placer mining is the mining of stream bed (alluvial) deposits for minerals. This may be done by open-pit or by various surface excavating equipment or tunnelling equipment.

Famous Trials

On December 19, 1863 a miners' court trial took place. The trial was for the murder of Nicholas, a Dutchman. George Ives was convicted and in less than an hour he was hanged in the middle of town while nearly 2,000 residents watched (“Nevada City, Montana.”).

Gold

According to Blumenthal, when the mining had come to an end in 1922, about $2.5 billion worth of gold in today's market had been extracted (Blumenthal 2).

Geography

Nevada City is about 27 miles southeast of Twin Bridges, Montana on Highway 287. The town site is located at 1½ miles west of Virginia City, Montana on Hwy 287.

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Alder Gulch valley in Montana, United States of America

Alder Gulch is a place in the Ruby River valley, in the U.S. state of Montana, where gold was discovered on May 26, 1863, by William Fairweather and a group of men including Barney Hughes, Thomas Cover, Henry Rodgers, Henry Edgar and Bill Sweeney who were returning to the gold fields of Grasshopper Creek, Bannack, Montana. They were on their way to Yellowstone Country from Bannack but were waylaid by a band of Crow Indians. After being ordered out of Crow hunting grounds, they crossed the East Slope of the Tobacco Root Mountains and camped for the night in Elk Park, where William "Bill" Fairweather and Henry Edgar discovered gold, while the remaining party was out hunting for meat. Agreeing to keep the new discovery quiet the group of miners returned to the town of Bannack for supplies. However, word leaked out about the new strike, and miners followed the Fairweather party out of town. The party stopped at the Point of Rocks, part way between Bannack and Alder Gulch, and established the Fairweather Mining District in a miners meeting. It was agreed that the discoverers were entitled to two claims and first choice. The first stampede of miners reached Alder Gulch June 6, 1863, and the population swelled to over 10,000 in less than 3 months. The "Fourteen Mile City" ran the length of the gulch, and included the towns of Junction City, Adobe Town, Nevada City, Central City, Virginia City, Montana, Bear Town, Highland, Pine Grove French Town, Hungry Hollow, and Summit. Upon arrival the miners lived in brush wickiups, dugouts and under overhanging rocks until cabins could be built. The first structure built in Virginia City was the Mechanical Bakery. Virginia City, and Nevada City were the centers of commerce during the height of the Alder Gulch gold rush. In the first year the area had over 10,000 people living there. Montana Territory was established in May 1864, and the first territorial capital was Bannock. The capital then moved to Virginia City, where it remained until 1875. The Alder Gulch diggings were the richest gold placer deposits ever discovered, and in three years $30,000,000 was taken from them, with $10,000,000 taken out in the first year. Nowadays, except during summertime, the streets of Virginia City are usually quiet and relatively few visitors find their way to the 16 ton granite monument that marks the spot of that incredible discovery of May 26, 1863.

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Montana Highway 287 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Montana. The highway runs 42.822 miles (68.915 km) from MT 41 in Twin Bridges east to U.S. Route 287 in Ennis. MT 287 is the primary east–west highway of Madison County. The highway connects the county's four towns, including Sheridan and the county seat of Virginia City. The course of MT 287 follows the ultimate portions of two trails that met in Virginia City, the center of the Alder Gulch gold rush of the mid-1860s and the second territorial capital of Montana. Parts of the highway were improved from rudimentary roads around 1920 from Virginia City to Ennis. This connection became the first portion of Montana Highway 34 in the early 1930s; the highway was extended west to Twin Bridges in the late 1930s. MT 34 was reconstructed from Twin Bridges through Alder to Virginia City in the late 1930s and early 1940s and between Virginia City and Ennis in the late 1940s to mid-1950s. The MT 287 designation was first applied to a cross-state route from West Yellowstone to Canada in the late 1950s. The highway was rerouted in place of MT 34 in the early 1960s. MT 287 was replaced by US 287 along much of the cross-state corridor in the mid-1960s. The highway extended north of Twin Bridges to Whitehall until the late 1970s, when it achieved its current length.

References

  1. Candi Zion, July 2017