hotel began as “The Riesen House” and was Constructed sometime before
January 1862. Current popular
Notion is that it dates from 1859 but the exact date is uncertain." In the
winter of 1861/1862 there were big floods all over northern California and
Nevada. Melting snow and
filled all the ravines and canyons with torrents of water.
M. Vesey acquired the hotel early in the 1860’s and added the wooden
structure to the original stone building.
The hotel became an important part of the now thriving metropolis
of Gold Hill which was adjacent to the even larger industrial and business
center known as Virginia . The
combined population of the two towns was approaching 40,000 people and was
one of the largest cities in the West, with schools, opera houses, newspapers,
trains, factories, churches and all the trappings, fire departments,
police forces, etc. all of this in addition to the major mining operations
which were producing large amounts of silver and gold.
The mining boom continued through the 70’s but after that it was
boom and bust and the population dwindled to only a few hundred by the
The population that had built a major town with
considerable infrastructure of houses, commercial buildings roads,
factories and a network of existence were faced with complete ruin….no
means for income, and given the normal expenses associated with supporting
family and possessions, they abandoned property, or dismantled it and sold
the materials, and they
drifted away for other areas to seek a means to survive.
The population that was left scrounged the ruins and further
devastated the area. What had
been the pride of the west became an eyesore or just dust and ruins. Sic transit Gloria.
Fortunately for us enough remains so that one can envision the glory of
the better times and current day Virginia City and Gold Hill are
fascinating to the tourists who come to absorb the history of
the Comstock Lode.
The photo on the right dates from the mid 1860s.
The the building on the left disappeared sometime in the 1890s
the right hand building survived and
is included as part of the current Gold Hill Hotel.
Gold Hill Hotel is a direct descendant of the Vesey Hotel