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Virginia City, a census-designated place, is the county seat of Storey County, Nevada and is situated on the eastern slopes of the Virginia range in the shadow of Mount Davidson. In 1859 the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit in the country, was discovered on the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, triggering a mining boom which was centered in what would soon be called Virginia City. The Comstock Lode, in fact, is what put Virginia City on the map. At the time of the discovery of the Comstock Lode, gold and silver were essentially equals in value, and it was what the federal government bought in order to mint coins. The boom enveloped Virginia City, and the population went from 4,000 in 1862 to more than 15,000 in 1863, and soon, the city had the International Hotel which had an elevator and 100 rooms, the Maguire Opera House, four churches, three theaters, and three daily newspapers. People built mansions, churches, hospitals, and opera houses; they bought imported furniture and high fashion from both Europe and Asia; they financed the small boom town of San Francisco and funded the Civil War. People from San Francisco and England and Ireland, and China flooded into Virginia City. Samuel Clemens first used his nom de plume, Mark Twain, when he worked  for one of the local newspapers, the Enterprise, where he worked from 1862 until 1864. At the peak of the boom in 1873, Virginia City was called "the richest city in the in America" and had more than 25,000 people living there. The Comstock Lode produced more money than the California Gold Rush had produced. By 1876, more than $400 million in coinage came from the Nevada mines in Nevada, which were also responsible for producing more than 50% of all precious metals in the United States. And then, almost as quickly as the bonanza started, it slammed to a stop. By 1879, the ore slowed down, and the population plummeted to below 11,000. From 1959 to 1973, the longest-running television western was Bonanza. It was about the Cartwright family and their ranch, the Ponderosa Ranch, which was a two-hour ride by horse-drawn wagon, from Virginia City, and the town was featured frequently, if only by being named, in the series. The title "Bonanza" was a term used by miners and made famous during the Comstock Lode and was used to denote a large vein or deposit of ore. These days, Virginia City has a tourism-based economy, with most attractions having to do with mining as it was in the 19th century. Many of the hotels and bed & breakfasts are restored historic homes, and there are several interpretive museums and historic sites, including the Fourth Ward School Museum, the Way It Was Museum, and Piper's Opera House, as well as the Bucket of Blood Saloon on C Street.

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