Many photos, maps, and mine diagrams enhanced my appreciation and understanding of Virginia City, the Comstock Lode, Nevada, California, San Francisco, New York, and the West in the nineteenth century. Here are some of the most enjoyable and helpful. I’ll add links to photos beneath the maps.
1870 Atlas at archive.org (Atlas Accompanying Volume III on Mining Industry, USGS Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel): An excellent resource of 20 “plates” showing horizontal, longitudinal, and cross sectional views of the Comstock Lode current to about 1869.
Becker Atlas (1882) at UNR (Atlas to accompany the monograph on the geology of the Comstock Lode and Washoe District): Also excellent. 21 “plates” showing the various Comstock mines in horizontal, longitudinal, and cross sectional views. Navigation of the Atlas at the UNR site is a bit awkward, but rewards the persistent. One of the diagrams shows “The Big Bonanza” in the Con. Virginia and California mines. With careful study, you can follow the discovery and development of the ore body from the “1167” foot level drift in the upper left. Other maps show the workings of the other Comstock mines and the relative position of the ore bodies.
Comstock Lode, Virginia City and Gold Hill maps:
- 1860 Map of the Washoe Mining Region at UNR (it isn’t perfectly accurate, but consider the date)
- 1864 Map of the Gold Hill Front Lodes on the Comstock Range, N.T. at UNR (interesting to note that there is no indication that the Kentuck mine exists)
- 1866 Map of the Comstock showing the proposed line of the Sutro Tunnel at UNR (this map does show the existence of the Kentuck)
- 1872 Map of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad (also shows the locations of the most important quartz mills)
- 1875 Parkinson Map of the Comstock Mining Claims at UNR (note that many of the claim boundaries were different in 1875 than they had been in the early 1860s, especially in the vicinity of the Ophir and Mexican mines and around the original Gold Hill claims)
- Bird’s Eye View of Virginia City in 1875 (fun, although a bit awkward to navigate)
- Virginia City in 1877 at the Bancroft Library
- 1878 Rose map of the Comstock Lode showing the line of the Sutro Tunnel at UNR
Maps and other material about New York, California, Nevada, and San Francisco:
- New York City in 1850 (Library of Congress), when John Mackay was finishing his apprenticeship at the Webb Shipyard and living on Frankfort Street
- Gold Rush Era ships buried below modern San Francisco — National Geographic article with maps and old photos
- 1863 Henry DeGroot’s map of Nevada Territory at the David Ramsey Historical Map Collection (shows the site of the First Battle of Pyramid Lake as well as the various routes over the Sierras to Washoe)
- 1864 Colton’s map of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico at UNR
- 1873 Bancroft’s map of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona at the David Ramsey Historical Map Collection
- San Francisco in 1864 at the David Ramsey Historical Map Collection
- San Francisco in 1869 at the David Ramsey Historical Map Collection
- Bird’s Eye view of San Francisco in 1869 at the David Ramsey Historical Map Collection
Links to good photos and explanatory drawings: