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.
The Comstock Mines:
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. (Easy to enlarge and navigate)
The Becker Atlas (1882) in the David Rumsey Map Collection (Atlas to accompany the monograph on the geology of the Comstock Lode and Washoe District): Also excellent. Can stand any magnification. These are quite incredible. Navigation rewards the persistent. From south to north:
- The Gold Hill mines: Belcher, Crown Point, Kentuck, Yellow Jacket. The Kentuck’s west-dipping ore body that started John Mackay on the road to fortune is just above the Kentuck Shaft. The “east ore body” is just below the shaft. The Kentuck, Yellow Jacket, and Crown Point shared them both. The deep ore body discovered on the 1,100 foot level of the Crown Point in late 1870 and shared with the Belcher is shown by the large stopes straddling the boundary between the two mines between 1,000 and 1,600 feet below the surface and trending eastward on the “dip” of the lode.
- Original Gold Hill and the Divide: Imperial, Alpha, Exchequer, Bullion, Chollar-Potosi.
- The middle mines: Chollar-Potosi, Hale & Norcross, Savage, and Gould & Curry.
- The Bonanza mines: The Con. Virginia, California, and the Ophir mines (and a slice of the Gould & Curry). Includes “The Big Bonanza.” You can follow the discovery and development of the ore body from the “1167” foot level drift in the upper left.
Comstock Lode, Virginia City and Gold Hill maps:
- 1860 Map of the Washoe Mining Region (it isn’t perfect, but consider the date)
- 1864 Map of the Gold Hill Front Lodes on the Comstock Range, N.T. (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)
- Bird’s Eye View of Virginia City in 1875 (fun, although a bit awkward to navigate)
- Treadwell Bird’s Eye View of the Comstock in 1875 (different than the above)
- 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 (1850), 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
- Colton’s map of California and San Francisco (1856)
- Henry DeGroot’s map of Nevada Territory (1863) Shows the site of the First Battle of Pyramid Lake as well as the various routes over the Sierras to Washoe
- San Francisco (1864)
- Colton’s map of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico (1865)
- San Francisco (1869)
- Bird’s Eye view of San Francisco (1869)
- Bancroft’s map of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona (1873)
Photos and illustrations:
The Comstock Mines, an excellent album of Carlton Watkins photographs, made in 1878 at the height of the bonanza times
Scenes from the Five Points, the New York City slum where John Mackay grew up
Square set timbering diagrams
Two modern contraptions derived from Comstock mining technology
The Bonanza King’s final resting place in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery