4th of July in Virginia City


July 5, 2009 by torqdog

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Virginia City is a very colorful town, full of charm and characters that take you back to a time when Silver was king. Founded in 1859 when silver was discovered, Virginia City went on to become one of the largest Boomtowns in the world. Commonly referred to as the Comstock lode, Virginia City’s silver was a key factor in Nevada being admitted into the Union in 1864 and Nevada is known as the Silver State. The state’s motto is “battle born” largely due to the importance silver played in financing the Civil War and the resulting admittance into the Union during that time. Samuel Clemens, aka; Mark Twain lived here. From wiki; Virginia City could be considered the birthplace of Mark Twain, as it was here in 1863 that writer Samuel Clemens, then a reporter on the local Territorial Enterprise newspaper, first used his famous pen name.

Every year Virginia City has a 4th of July celebration. For ten years running, the local band known as the Comstock Cowboys put on a free concert at the Bucket of Blood saloon parking lot, followed by a fantastic fireworks display. It’s become a family tradition of ours and others in the area. Good food, spirit and a whole host of savory characters dressed in “period” costume take you back to a distant past. Lots of fun had by all.

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David John and the Comstock Cowboys.

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Folks in Virginia City take their 2nd ammendment rights seriously. Many townsfolk find it quite normal to strap on a gunbelt and cruise the boardwalks.

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Even the bass player has one.

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One of the townsfolk

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A cute couple. The gal even had a small deringer strapped to her leg.

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Keeping the peace……. not that it’s a problem in V.C.

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Saluting to a moving song about fallen heroes.

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Pistol packin Granny

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Protecting the Beer

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Patriotic puppies

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Terrible shot of the fireworks. I think next time I’ll bring a tripod as 30 second hand held exposures don’t cut it.


7 thoughts on “4th of July in Virginia City

  1. esarsea says:

    Looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing it. I think (?) I drove through Virginia City once going from Reno to Tahoe…or maybe that was Carson City. Now that I think about it, it was probably Carson City. Anyway, some nice photos!

  2. bill says:

    I had a rental car and a few hours to kill before a flight out of Reno a few years back so I drove to Virginia City. It was great. Pretty town up in the surrounding hillsides, quaint, cool, lots of history. Much like the old mining town of Park City, Utah, before Californians discovered it in the 70’s.

    Why, I even stopped in a bought some home made fudge at one of the specialty stores on Main St.

    Here’s an interesting piece about American “frontier” towns. If you 2nd Amenders can hold your breath and choke down the first qualifying paragraph, the author has some applicable factoids.

    Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture
    By Michael A. Bellesiles. Knopf 603 pp.

    “In no other industrialized nation in the world are there so many gun deaths as in the United States. In Canada, a country otherwise so similar to the U.S., there were only 68 handgun deaths in 1990 and 128 in ‘92. In 1994 the U.S. had 15,456 such deaths. More Americans are killed with guns in a typical week than in all of Western Europe in a year. To account for this enormous disparity, the myth was created that gun-toting was an early American tradition.

    …Among the myths Bellesiles shatters is that of the anarchistic gun-culture of the West. Saloons and shoot-em-ups, good guys and bad, the West of films like Shane and High Noon are all debunked as pure fiction. Eastern and European cities were more violent than the comparatively law-abiding cities of the American West. Education is what mattered most in the West, with the schools teaching the classical curriculum, including Greek and Latin.

    With a population of 500, Lexington, Kentucky, had six book dealers — but no gun-smiths. Within a few more years it boasted three academies, a university; a theater, a natural history museum, a magazine, a painting school and, in 1817, the first performance of a Beethoven symphony in the U.S. One book dealer catered to the miners of the California gold rush by stocking the works of Shakespeare, Byron, Milton and other distinguished poets.

    Virginia City, Nevada, one of the more notorious western towns in America’s collective imagination, claimed by its second year schools for one thousand children, three theaters, and a two-thousand-seat opera house where Italian operas were favored.”

    • torqdog says:

      Arguably, one of THE worst towns in the old west was Bodie. Ever hear of the “bad man from Bodie”? A notorious character from days gone by. I think I read somewhere that they averaged a shooting a day during the heydays of lawlessness.

  3. Stu says:

    Well, I suspect we can find stats to sway the argument in either direction. I did not spend more than 5 minues doing some quick searches and found that in 2004, 106 out of every 1000 Canadians were victims of violent crimes http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=61 while in 2006, only 73 out of Americans were victims of violent crime
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict_v.htm – that’s 32% less.

    I’m not going to take these 2 isolated figures and make a statement that this is because more home invasions were stopped or assults prevented by armed Americans…but it’s an example of how we can probably both argue this to death with stats supporting either side.

  4. bill says:

    Well, the first paragraph set up the story about gun violence in America.

    Then, he deconstructs the notion that a frontier mentality (Michael Moore relies on that notion quite a bit in Bowling for Columbine) was part and parcel to our current-day fascination and violence resulting from guns. And, then, finally, the blurb about how sophisticated Virginia City was way back when it was a frontier town.

    I’m sorry all you got from my hard work and creative tapestry of interwoven stories was taking issue with the stats on gun violence in America. My bad.

    Say, is that a loaded gun in your bedside night stand or are you just routinely locked and loaded in the bedroom? ;-)

    Still unclear about your claim. Are you saying that we don’t have more gun-related deaths than Canada? Or that more Americans are not killed in a week than a year in Western Europe?

  5. Da Goddess says:

    Randy, those characters are my kind of people. Yep, I hang out with some odd ones, but they’re fun. And I can see how it would quickly become a family tradition to celebrate Independence Day in Virginia City.

    As for fireworks, forget the long exposure. You can get some beautiful shots at 1/60 shutterspeed, 100 or 200 ISO, and your f-stop somewhere around 5.6 or 8. If you dig through any of my fireworks shots, there’s nary a one taken with a tripod nor with a long exposure. You lose all the depth in the sky if you keep that shutter open too long.

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