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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Virginia City Depot

Virginia City Depot Area

This area was originally the site of many small Chinese dwellings. In the early 1870's, a dam was built here, flooding the present village area and supplying the hydraulic mining operations down the gulch with water. It can be seen on the 1875 perspective map of Virginia City. Later, the dam was lowered and the present dam built about 1935 by Humphrey's Dredging Company. The dredges never came any further up the gulch than to the rear of the depot.

Virginia City Depot Area

The depot was built in about 1890 by the Northern Pacific Railroad in Harrison, Montana, north of Ennis. The railroad did not reach Virginia City until 1964 when Charles Bovey's Alder Gulch Short Line narrow-gauge railroad connected it with Nevada City about a mile and a half below. There has never been a rail connection between Virginia City and the main lines. In 1900, when dredging was underway, most supplies for the dredges were brought to Alder. Here the large boats were assembled.

The depot was moved from Harrison to Virginia City by the Zion Housemoving Company in 1964 when the narrow-gauge railroad began. As an old-timer once put it, "I have often gone down to the depot to watch a train pull in but this is the first time I ever went to the train and watched the depot pull in."

Special acknowledgements to: John D. Ellingsen, John N. DeHaas, Tony Dalich, and Ken Sievert Tom Cook and Ellen Baumler of the Montana Historical Society.

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