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Washoe County 
4590 South Virginia Street 
Reno, NV 89502

Historical Significance:

"The marker was placed to memorialize the route of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, specifically where it ran from Reno to Carson City during its 78-year tenure. In 1868, the Central Pacific portion of the transcontinental railroad was nearing the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and would soon reach the Truckee Meadows at Lake's Crossing, the future site of Reno. A rail connection from Virginia City to the Central Pacific would drastically cut the cost of hauling freight to the booming mining town. Thus, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad Company was incorporated, with a route running from Virginia City, north along Lousetown road to the present site of Lockwood, 10 miles east of Reno, where it would connect with the Central Pacific.

Factions in Storey and Ormsby counties paid $500,000 to run the railroad through Carson City and Washoe Valley to connect to the Central Pacific at Lake's Crossing. Henry M. Yerington was appointed superintendent of the V & T. The timing was perfect. In May of 1868 the Central Pacific laid the transcontinental track into Lakes Crossing, 30 miles north of Carson City.

Grading of the V & T right-of-way began in February of 1869. On September 28, Superintendent Yerington drove a silver spike into the first rail. December saw the first train from Carson City reach Gold Hill. In January of 1870, the first official passenger train pulled into Virginia City. The V & T route began in Virginia City, curved its way a half mile south to Gold Hill, across the famous Crown Point trestle, through more curves to American Flat, down to Moundhouse and through Brunswick Canyon into Carson City. The route made enough turns in the trip to go around in a circle seventeen times. The V & T easily earned its name as "The Crookedest Railroad in the World." The turns were tight, with many of them more than the standard 14 degrees. The sharpest turn was an unheard of 19 degrees leading into Gold Hill. The 16 mile trip took 21 miles of iron rails imported from England. Six tunnels were built on the main line, all timbered against loose rock and zinc-lined to prevent fires.

By 1873, the entire run was open, from Lakes Crossing to Virginia City. In May of 1873, a huge body of high grade ore was discovered in Mackay and Fair's Consolidated Virginia Mine. The discovery was the largest ever on the Comstock and became known as "The Big Bonanza." The V & T was getting rich, too, making four hundred thousand dollars a month hauling freight and passengers. In today's dollars, the V & T profit was nearly ten million dollars a month. Soon the busy V & T was operating 116 ore cars, two hundred platform cars, and 361 freight cars hauling as much as 40,000 tons of freight each month." (Wording from http://nssdar.org/VATruckee.html)

 

Acknowledgements: The Nevada State Society Daughters of the American Revolution owns and maintains the landmark with other associations in the area.
Form Submitted By: Nevada State Society Daughters of the American Revolution 6/9/2013