My fascination with Virginia City and its history began on my first visit to the tiny hamlet on the Comstock. It occurred sometime around Mackay Day when I was a student at Nevada.
My roommate, Bob Burke and I took the short drive up Geiger Grade because he had visited there several times before and wanted to make sure I saw it for myself. Since I was a journalism major, the most interesting artifact to me on that original trip was Mark Twain’s desk.
I was equally impressed with what I was told were the original wooden sidewalks.
Over the ensuing years I have probably visited Virginia City hundreds of times. One of the more memorable trips was taking movie star Marie MacDonald up to have lunch with Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg in their magnificent and well-appointed historical mansion.
On several other occasions, as a member of the Reno Chamber of Commerce promotion committee, I worked on personal appearances for the cast of “Bonanza,” which included the four members of the original Cartwright family.
Another time, I was on a committee headed up by Don Burke and his wife, when we rented every dining facility in the town for a conventioneers’ side trip. We persuaded the restaurants all to have the same dinner entrees and scheduled an early and a late seating. We transported the attendees up by a fleet of large busses, which had to make several round trips.
The most prestigious event that occurred for me in VC was the initial camel race I had to promote in 1960.
Over the years, I have eaten my share of VC hot dogs and imbibed at literally all the bars. I also recall numerous trips to Boot Hill where we successfully frightened numerous children with tales of the ghostly past.
Of all the “Big Bonanza Kings” of the past, I was most familiar with the story of John Mackay because of his on-going support for U of N.
Comes now a modern version of such Kings with the scheduling of the Big Bonanza Awards dinner on Saturday, April 23 at the Silverland Inn and Suites convention room.
If you have been reading the back page of the Comstock Chronicle the past two weeks, you will know that the honorees are Lance Gilman and Scott Jolcover and the presenter will be none other U.S. Congressman, Mark Amodei. The festivities will commence at 5 p.m. with a two-hour silent auction and meet-and-greet. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. with the award presentations beginning at 8 p.m.
Both honorees are well-known figures in Virginia City with Gilman being a county commissioner and the driving force behind the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Complex, which is located in eastern Story County. Jolcover is literally a Virginia City native because of his many holdings and his connection with Comstock Mining Inc.
Coordinator for the event is the inimitable Jim Webster, who is taking reservations at 775.379.2196. On the distaff side, Pamela Abercrombie of the Comstock Foundation is also taking reservations at 775.720.7445. The Foundation is the charity beneficiary of the evening.