Virginia City, Montana

Last updated
Virginia City, Montana
Virginia City, Montana.jpg
Virginia City from a nearby hillside
Madison County Montana Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Virginia City Highlighted.svg
Location of Virginia City, Montana
Coordinates: 45°17′39″N111°56′28″W / 45.29417°N 111.94111°W / 45.29417; -111.94111 Coordinates: 45°17′39″N111°56′28″W / 45.29417°N 111.94111°W / 45.29417; -111.94111
Country United States
State Montana
County Madison
Area
[1]
  Total0.95 sq mi (2.46 km2)
  Land0.95 sq mi (2.46 km2)
  Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation
5,761 ft (1,756 m)
Population
 (2010) [2]
  Total190
  Estimate 
(2016) [3]
198
  Density200/sq mi (77/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
59755
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-77125
GNIS feature ID0778036

Virginia City is a town in and the county seat of Madison County, Montana, United States. [4] In 1961 the town and the surrounding area were designated a National Historic Landmark District, the Virginia City Historic District. [5] The population was 190 at the 2010 census.

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.

Madison County, Montana U.S. county in Montana

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.

Montana U.S. state in the United States

Montana is a 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".

Contents

History

Founding

Thomas Francis Meagher House, Virginia City Lewis, and Clark were the first people to discover it Lewis and Clark found the town. Thomas Francis Meagher House Virginia City Montana.jpg
Thomas Francis Meagher House, Virginia City Lewis, and Clark were the first people to discover it Lewis and Clark found the town.

In May 1863, a group of prospectors were headed toward the Yellowstone River and instead came upon a party of the Crow tribe and was forced to return to Bannack. On May 26, 1863, Bill Fairweather and Henry Edgar discovered gold near Alder Creek. [6] The prospectors could not keep the site a secret and were followed on their return to the gold bearing site. A mining district was set up in order to formulate rules about individual gold claims. On June 16, 1863 under the name of "Verina" the township was formed a mile south of the gold fields. The name was intended to honor Varina Howell Davis, the first and only First Lady of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Verina, although in Union territory, was founded by men whose loyalties were thoroughly Confederate. Upon registration of the name, a Connecticut judge, G. G. Bissell, objected to their choice and recorded it as Virginia City. [7]

Yellowstone River tributary of the Missouri River in the western United States

The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 692 miles (1,114 km) long, in the western United States. Considered the principal tributary of the upper Missouri, the river and its tributaries drain a wide area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park across the mountains and high plains of southern Montana and northern Wyoming.

Bannack, Montana United States historic place

Bannack is a ghost town in Beaverhead County, Montana, United States, located on Grasshopper Creek, approximately 11 miles (18 km) upstream from where Grasshopper Creek joins with the Beaverhead River south of Dillon. Founded in 1862, the town contemporarily operates as a National Historic Landmark and is managed by the state of Montana as Bannack State Park.

Gold Chemical element with atomic number 79

Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold often occurs in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits. It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium.

Within weeks Virginia City was a boomtown of thousands of prospectors and fortune seekers in the midst of a gold rush. The remote region of the Idaho Territory was without law enforcement or justice system with the exception of miners' courts. In late 1863, the great wealth in the region, lack of a justice system and the insecure means of travel gave rise to serious criminal activity, especially robbery and murder along the trails and roads of the region. Road agents as they became known were ultimately responsible for up to 100 deaths in the region in 1863 and 1864. This resulted in the formation of the Vigilance committee of Alder Gulch and the infamous Montana Vigilantes. Up to 15 road agents were hanged by the vigilantes in December 1863 and January 1864, including the sheriff of Bannack, Montana and alleged leader of the road agent gang, Henry Plummer. [8]

Boomtown community that experiences sudden and rapid population and economic growth

A boomtown is a community that undergoes sudden and rapid population and economic growth, or that is started from scratch. The growth is normally attributed to the nearby discovery of a precious resource such as gold, silver, or oil, although the term can also be applied to communities growing very rapidly for different reasons, such as a proximity to a major metropolitan area, huge construction project, or attractive climate.

Gold rush new discovery of gold that brings an onrush of miners seeking their fortune

A gold rush is a new discovery of gold—sometimes accompanied by other precious metals and rare-earth minerals—that brings an onrush of miners seeking their fortune. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.

Law enforcement Enforcement of the law by some members of society

Law enforcement is any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society. Although the term encompasses entities such as courts and Corrections, it is most frequently applied to those who directly engage in patrols or surveillance to dissuade and discover criminal activity, and those who investigate crimes and apprehend offenders, a task typically carried out by the police, [Sheriff] or another law enforcement organization. Furthermore, although law enforcement may be most concerned with the prevention and punishment of crimes, organizations exist to discourage a wide variety of non-criminal violations of rules and norms, effected through the imposition of less severe consequences.

The Montana Territory was organized out of the existing Idaho Territory by Act of Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 26, 1864. [9] Although Bannack was the first territorial capital, the territorial legislature moved the capital to Virginia City on February 7, 1865. [10] It remained the capital until April 19, 1875 when it moved to Helena, Montana. [11] Thomas Dimsdale began publication of Montana's first newspaper, the Montana Post, in Virginia City on August 27, 1864. [12] Montana's first public school was established in Virginia City in March 1866. [13]

Montana Territory territory of the USA between 1864-1889

The Territory of Montana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted as the 41st state in the Union as the state of Montana.

Idaho Territory territory of the USA between 1863–1890

The Territory of Idaho was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 3, 1863, until July 3, 1890, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as Idaho.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.

Gilbert Brewery, Wallace Street, Virginia City, founded in 1866 by Henry S. Gilbert (1833-1902) Gilbert Brewery Virginia City Montana.jpg
Gilbert Brewery, Wallace Street, Virginia City, founded in 1866 by Henry S. Gilbert (1833-1902)

Ghost town

In the 1940s, Charles and Sue Bovey began buying the town, putting much needed maintenance into failing structures. The ghost town of Virginia City began to be restored for tourism in the 1950s. Most of the city is now owned by the state government and is a National Historic Landmark operated as an open-air museum. Of the nearly three hundred structures in town, almost half were built prior to 1900. Buildings in their original condition with Old West period displays and information plaques stand next to presently active restaurants, gift shops, and other businesses.

Ghost town City depopulated of inhabitants and that stays practically intact

A ghost town is an abandoned village, town, or city, usually one that contains substantial visible remains. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, prolonged droughts, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, pollution, or nuclear disasters. The term can sometimes refer to cities, towns, and neighbourhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in past years; for example, those affected by high levels of unemployment and dereliction.

Tourism travel for recreational or leisure purposes

Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and thee business of operating tours. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go "beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only", as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure and not less than 24 hours, business and other purposes".

National Historic Landmark formal designation assigned by the United States federal government to historic buildings and sites in the United States

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Only some 2,500 (~3%) of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

The Historic District of Virginia City and Nevada City is currently operated by the Montana Heritage Commission. The Commission operates gold panning, the Nevada City Music Hall and Museum, and the Alder Gulch Railroad. [15] [16]

Virginia City also has a Boothill Cemetery. [17] The 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge Alder Gulch Short Line Railroad transports passengers by rail to the nearby ghost town of Nevada City, Montana, and back.

Filmography

The film The Missouri Breaks (1976) was partly filmed in Virginia City. [18]

Notable residents

Geography

Virginia City is located at 45°17′39″N111°56′28″W / 45.29417°N 111.94111°W / 45.29417; -111.94111 (45.294107, -111.941230). [20]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.95 square miles (2.46 km2), all of it land. [1]

Climate

According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Virginia City has a borderline humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) bordering on a cold semi-arid climate (BSk) and a subalpine climate (Dfc). [21] The data below are from the Western Regional Climate Center over the years 1893 to 2016. [22]

Climate data for Virginia City, MT
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)65
(18)
64
(18)
71
(22)
81
(27)
91
(33)
100
(38)
103
(39)
98
(37)
94
(34)
85
(29)
70
(21)
62
(17)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C)32.6
(0.3)
36.4
(2.4)
42.6
(5.9)
52.5
(11.4)
62.0
(16.7)
70.8
(21.6)
81.0
(27.2)
79.3
(26.3)
68.6
(20.3)
56.8
(13.8)
42.1
(5.6)
34.1
(1.2)
54.9
(12.7)
Average low °F (°C)11.6
(−11.3)
14.2
(−9.9)
19.7
(−6.8)
27.8
(−2.3)
35.9
(2.2)
42.7
(5.9)
49.7
(9.8)
47.8
(8.8)
39.4
(4.1)
30.9
(−0.6)
20.6
(−6.3)
13.7
(−10.2)
29.5
(−1.4)
Record low °F (°C)−40
(−40)
−39
(−39)
−19
(−28)
−11
(−24)
12
(−11)
23
(−5)
27
(−3)
24
(−4)
8
(−13)
−10
(−23)
−25
(−32)
−38
(−39)
−40
(−40)
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.66
(17)
0.51
(13)
0.98
(25)
1.39
(35)
2.23
(57)
2.48
(63)
1.47
(37)
1.27
(32)
1.37
(35)
1.05
(27)
0.86
(22)
0.68
(17)
14.95
(380)
Average snowfall inches (cm)9.3
(24)
7.0
(18)
10.6
(27)
8.4
(21)
4.5
(11)
0.7
(1.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.3
(3.3)
3.7
(9.4)
8.9
(23)
10.2
(26)
64.6
(164.5)
Source: https://wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?mt8597

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1880 624
1890 6758.2%
1900 568−15.9%
1910 467−17.8%
1920 342−26.8%
1930 242−29.2%
1940 38057.0%
1950 323−15.0%
1960 194−39.9%
1970 149−23.2%
1980 19228.9%
1990 142−26.0%
2000 130−8.5%
2010 19046.2%
Est. 2016198 [3] 4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [23] [24]

2010 census

As of the census [2] of 2010, there were 190 people, 102 households, and 55 families residing in the town. The population density was 200.0 inhabitants per square mile (77.2/km2). There were 171 housing units at an average density of 180.0 per square mile (69.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.6% White, 0.5% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 7.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

There were 102 households of which 17.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.1% were non-families. 42.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.86 and the average family size was 2.49.

The median age in the town was 51.3 years. 15.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 3.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 39.6% were from 45 to 64; and 18.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.

2000 census

As of the census [25] of 2000, there were 130 people, 72 households, and 32 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.4 people per square mile (54.0/km²). There were 122 housing units at an average density of 131.7 per square mile (50.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.62% White, 2.31% Native American, 0.77% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 72 households out of which 18.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 1.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.2% were non-families. 47.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.81 and the average family size was 2.52.

In the town, the population was spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 0.8% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 46.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $30,000, and the median income for a family was $46,250. Males had a median income of $37,500 versus $19,167 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,182. There are 5.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including those under eighteens and over 64.

Notes

  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  3. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. "Virginia City Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  6. Malone, Michael P.; Roeder, Richard B.; Lang, William L. (1991). Montana-A History of Two Centuries. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. pp. 65–66. ISBN   0-295-97129-0.
  7. Dillion, Mark C. (2013). "The Rise and Dominance of the "Fourteen-Mile City" at Alder Gulch". Montana Vigilantes 1863-1870 Gold, Guns and Gallows. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. pp. 8–20. ISBN   9780874219197.
  8. Dillon, Mark C. (2013). Montana Vigilantes 1863-1870 Gold, Guns and Gallows. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. ISBN   9780874219197.
  9. "An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Montana" (PDF). Thirty-sixth United States Congress. May 26, 1864. Archived from the original (pdf) on January 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
  10. Smith, Jeffrey J. (2003). Montana Book of Days. Missoula, MT: Historic Montana Publishing. p. 40. ISBN   0966335562.
  11. Parry, Ellis Roberts (2001). Montana Dateline. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 81. ISBN   156044956X.
  12. Parry, Ellis Roberts (2001). Montana Dateline. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 186. ISBN   156044956X.
  13. Parry, Ellis Roberts (2001). Montana Dateline. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 51. ISBN   156044956X.
  14. archiveswest.orbiscascade.org
  15. http://www.virginiacitymt.com/
  16. http://www.virginiacityplayers.com/
  17. Boothill Cemetery - Madison County, Montana
  18. Maddrey, Joseph (2016). The Quick, the Dead and the Revived: The Many Lives of the Western Film. McFarland. Page 184. ISBN   9781476625492.
  19. Dillon, Mark C. (2013). "Formation of the Vigilance Committee". Montana Vigilantes 1863-1870 Gold, Guns and Gallows. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. pp. 119–134. ISBN   9780874219197.
  20. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  21. Climate Summary for Virginia City, Montana
  22. "VIRGINIA CITY, MONTANA - Climate Summary". wrcc.dri.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  23. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  24. "Census & Economic Information Center" . Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  25. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.

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