Virginia City in Storey County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Generally bordered on the North and South by Sutton and Union and on the East and West by G and L St
—Comstock Historical Marker No. 5 —
The first Chinese came to the Comstock in the early 1860s after having worked on the Reese River Ditch project in Dayton, NV in the mid-1850s. Prejudice against them was prevalent at the time, due to their strange customs and traditions that was not understood by the rest of society. Consequently, they were denied rights that were taken for granted by the rest of the community. A provision in an early Virginia City mining document of 1859 stated: “No Chinaman shall hold a claim in this district.” When they were found working on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad in 1869, they were run off by local miners who then replaced them. Always industrious, the Chinese found work as gardeners, firewood haulers and household domestics. Several hundred were also employed in numerous laundries during Virginia city’s [sic] “Bonanza’” years. The population of Virginia City reached its zenith in the mid-1870s, when over 20,000 people resided on the Comstock. The census of 1875 recorded 1,331 Chinese living in Storey County at that time, 90% of which were males. By 1900 many Chinese relocated to San Francisco. Today this is all that remains of Virginia City’s Chinatown where its residents lived, prayed in Joss Houses and took recreation in opium dens.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 25, 2011
1. Chinatown Marker
The area outlined in white is the general
core area that comprised Chinatown. However, it expanded a little more to the North and the South. Chinese artifacts have been located within a four block area indicating there were Chinese residences or business in those areas as well. Chinese artifacts have also been located in several other parts of the community which would indicate that there were some Chinese dispersed throughout Virginia City. That may be the result of them working in other areas of town, or possibly having businesses located in those other areas.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 25, 2011
2. Chinatown Marker
Erected 2009 by Marshall Earth Resources, Hugh Roy Marshall, Virginia City, Nevada. (Marker Number 5.)
Location. 39° 18.648′ N, 119° 38.872′ W. Marker is in Virginia City, Nevada, in Storey County. Marker is on E Street. Touch for map. This marker is in or near the Silverland Inn and Suites parking lot on E Street, between Union and Sutton Streets. Marker is in this post office area: Virginia City NV 89440, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Mary Louise Hospital (a few steps from this marker); Ships of the Nevada Desert (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia and Truckee Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker);
C & C Mining Works (within shouting distance of this marker); Red Light District (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Big Bonanza (about 300 feet away); The Union Brewery (about 400 feet away); African Americans And The Boston Saloon (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Virginia City.
3. Detail from the Chinatown Marker
Photo courtesy of the Mark Twain Book Store, Joe Curtis Collection.
Please read the inscription for information about this photograph.
Categories. • Asian Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 2, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 518 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 2, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.