Virginia City, Montana
Virginia City from a nearby hillside
Location of Virginia City, Montana
|• Total||0.95 sq mi (2.46 km2)|
|• Land||0.95 sq mi (2.46 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||5,761 ft (1,756 m)|
|• Density||200/sq mi (77/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-6 (MDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0778036|
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.
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 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 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".
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.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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.Although Bannack was the first territorial capital, the territorial legislature moved the capital to Virginia City on February 7, 1865. It remained the capital until April 19, 1875 when it moved to Helena, Montana. Thomas Dimsdale began publication of Montana's first newspaper, the Montana Post, in Virginia City on August 27, 1864. Montana's first public school was established in Virginia City in March 1866.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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".
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.
Virginia City also has a Boothill Cemetery. 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.The
The film The Missouri Breaks (1976) was partly filmed in Virginia City.
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Virginia City is located at(45.294107, -111.941230).
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.
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).The data below are from the Western Regional Climate Center over the years 1893 to 2016.
|Climate data for Virginia City, MT|
|Record high °F (°C)||65|
|Average high °F (°C)||32.6|
|Average low °F (°C)||11.6|
|Record low °F (°C)||−40|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.66|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||9.3|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census 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.of 2010, there were 190 people, 102 households, and 55 families residing in the town. The population density was
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.
As of the censusof 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.
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Henry Plummer (1832–1864) was a prospector, lawman, and outlaw in the American West in the 1850s and 1860s, who was known to have killed several men, some in what was considered self-defense. He was elected sheriff of Bannack, Montana from 1863 to 1864, during which period he was accused of being the leader of a "road agent" gang of outlaws known as the "Innocents," which preyed on shipments from Virginia City to other areas. In response some leaders in Virginia City formed the Vigilance Committee of Alder Gulch, and began to take action against Plummer's gang, gaining confessions from a couple of men they arrested in early January 1864. On January 10, 1864 Plummer and two associates were arrested in Bannack by a company of the Vigilantes and summarily hanged.
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.
Wilbur Fisk Sanders was a United States Senator from Montana. A leading pioneer and a skilled lawyer, Sanders played a prominent role in the development of Montana Territory and the state's early political history.
Nevada City 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.
George Lane, better known as Clubfoot George, was an alleged outlaw who was hanged on January 14, 1864 in Virginia City, Montana. Lane was later alleged to have been a member of a criminal gang known as the Gang of Innocents and sentenced to death. The execution was carried out by the Montana Vigilantes, a committee which functioned during Montana's gold rush in 1863 and 1864.
The Innocents were an alleged gang of outlaw road agents in Montana Territory who operated during the gold rush of the 1860s, preying on shipments and travelers carrying gold from Virginia City, Montana. According to the early chronicler Thomas Dimsdale, the gang attempted to steal gold while it was being transported; they killed many travelers who resisted. Sheriff Henry Plummer of Bannack, Montana was accused of leading the group, and was executed by a group of vigilantes from Virginia City in January 1864, along with several other alleged gang members.
The history of vigilante justice and the Montana Vigilantes began in 1863 in what was at the time a remote part of eastern Idaho Territory. Vigilante activities continued, although somewhat sporadically, through the Montana Territorial period until the territory became the state of Montana on November 8, 1889. Vigilantism arose because territorial law enforcement and the courts had very little power in the remote mining camps during the territorial period.