Virginia City, Nevada
Virginia City, established in 1859, was the largest city in Nevada from the 1860s to 1900. It was the center of the Comstock Lode mining district and had an extensive commercial district which catered to area miners. The highest census count for Virginia City was in 1880 at 10,917 but it's peak population was probably higher. After 1880 it began to decline and it's population fell to a low of 500 in 1940 and 1950. Today it's population is 855 and it is often crowded with tourists and day trippers from nearby Reno and Carson City. Virginia City's main street (C Street) is remarkably intact. It's an almost continuous row of period buildings that stretches for over three blocks. The majority of storefronts on the main drag are occupied with open businesses and the buildings are well maintained. C Street was generally too crowded for me but I was impressed by the state of preservation. Many of the period homes in Virginia City's neighborhoods have been torn down or replaced but many, including a few impressive mansions survive in scattered locations. Relics of mining are visible on the hills around town, mostly in the form of tailings piles. Virginia City doesn't have as many surviving mining structures as can be found in nearby Gold Hill but it has vastly more surviving residential and commercial buildings.