Timeline: Virginia City and the Comstock Lode

1859

6/17/1859 - Assay of gold ore from Virginia City reveals that 'contaminant' is actually rich silver content.

1860

4/3/1860 - Pony Express is initiated.
11/8/1860 - Deidesheimer develops 'square-set' method for shoring up mineshafts.
12/1860 - Silver production on the Comstock rises to $1,000,000, about $24.7 million in 2010 dollars.

1861

1/16/1861 - Virginia City is incorporated.
2/1861 - Fire in cabin on A Street; Virginia City has no fire equipment, so citizens fight the fire by throwing snowballs at it.
10/24/1861 - Pony Express announces its closure as the transcontinental telegraph reaches Salt Lake City.
12/31/1861 - Comstock Lode boasts 75 ore mills with 1200 ore-crushing stamps.
12/1861 - Silver production on the Comstock rises to $2,275,256, about $56.2 million in 2010 dollars.

1862

9/11/1862 - San Francisco Stock and Exchange Board (dealing in silver mining shares) opens.
12/1862 - Silver production on the Comstock rises to $6,247,047, about $138.8 million in 2010 dollars.

1863

5/14/1863 - Violence erupts between miners in Ophir mine and neighboring Burning Moscow mine.
7/2/1863 - Maguire's Opera House, seating 1600, is opened by Julia Dean Hayne.
8/29/1863 - Fire sweeps through Virginia City; street fight between two rival fire crews rages while the fire burns on.
12/1863 - Silver production on the Comstock rises sharply to $12,486,238, about $225.0 million in 2010 dollars.

1864

3/1864 - Sons of Temperance boasts over 250 members in Virginia City and Gold Hill.
1864 - Major fire destroys portion of Divide between Virginia City and Gold Hill.
9/7/1864 - Nevada state constitution approved by voters.
10/31/1864 - Lincoln signs legislation admitting Nevada to the Union.
12/1864 - Silver production on the Comstock rises to $15,795,585, about $224.1 million in 2010 dollars.

1865

4/9/1865 - Surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomatox Courthouse.
4/15/1865 - Lincoln is assassinated.
12/1865 - Value of stocks on the Comstock drops to $4 million from $40 million two years prior.
12/1865 - Silver production on the Comstock declines to $15,184,877, about $220.1 million in 2010 dollars.

1866

1866-67 winter - 44 blizzards in the Sierras, hampering the workers boring Summit Tunnel for the transcontinental railroad.
12/1866 - Silver production on the Comstock declines to $14,167,071, about $214.7 million in 2010 dollars.

1867

6/7/1867 - Consolidated Virginia mine is formed by merger of Central #2, Kinney, White and Murphy, and Sides.
6/19/67 - Cave-in at 100 foot level of Chollar-Potosi mine creates sinkhole 200 feet wide at the surface, swallowing a dry-goods store.
12/1867 - Silver production on the Comstock declines to $13,738,618, about $218.1 million in 2010 dollars.

1868

3/1868 - William Sharon wins battle for control of the Hale & Norcross mine.
5/29/1868 - Earthquake at Tahoe of 6.0 magnitude cracks brick buildings in Virginia City.
9/1868 - Ore in Hale & Norcross exhausted; stock price drops to $41 from over $10,000 in February.
12/1868 - Silver production on the Comstock declines to $12,418,023, about $207.0 million in 2010 dollars.

1869

2/1869 - Mackay and Fair gain control of the apparently-defunct Hale & Norcross mine.
3/1869 - Last ore body in Crown Point peters out; Lode is exhausted.
3/1869 - New ore body is discovered in Hale & Norcross mine.
3/12/1869 - Fire in central section of Virginia City.
4/7/1869 - Major fire in the Yellow Jacket mine; explosion drives fire into the neighboring mines.

5/10/1869 - Transcontinental railroad is completed; trip east goes from six months to six days.
12/1869 - Production from Comstock mines plunges to $7,528,607, , about $125.5 million in 2010 dollars, its lowest point since inception.

1870

3/1870 - Further major ore discoveries in the Hale & Norcross mine, ensuring profitability for several years.
6/1870 - Ore pinches out in all mines except the Hale & Norcross, work on the rest of the Lode is suspended.
7/5/1870 - Major fire destroys central section of Gold Hill, south of Virginia City.
8/8/1870 - Fistfight between Irish and Cornish miners turns into full scale riot.
10/25/1870 - Major fire destroys central section of Virginia City.
12/1870 - Silver production on the Comstock, bolstered by additional discoveries in the Hale & Norcross mine, rises to $8,319,698, about $146.0 million in 2010 dollars.

1871

1/1/1871 - New ore body in the Crown Point Mine revitalizes the entire Lode.
2/1/1871 - Major fire destroys central section of Virginia City.
3/24/1871 - Vigilante organization (601) abducts a suspected arsonist from city jail and lynches him.
7/2/1871 - Amazonian 601, an all women vigilante group, forms to combat wife beaters.
7/18/1871 - Last vigilante hanging in Virginia City.
8/20/1871 - Major fire destroys central section of Virginia City.
12/1871 - Silver production on the Comstock, bolstered by major find in the Crown Point mine, rises to $11,053,328, about $204.7 million in 2010 dollars.

1872

1/11/1872 - Mackay, Flood, Fair and O'Brien take control of the Consolidated Virginia mine.
6/1872 - Rock walls in Yellow Jacket mine still red-hot three years after 1869 fire.
11/9/1872 - Great Boston Fire, massive losses; firefighting efforts paralyzed by equine epidemic.
12/1872 - Silver production on the Comstock rises to $13,569,724, about $251.3 million in 2010 dollars.

1873

2/12/1873 - Fourth Coinage Act demonetizes silver.
3/1/1873 - The BIG BONANZA is discovered in the Consolidated Virginia mine.
3/10/1873 - Equine epidemic ('Epizootic') immobilizes Virginia City.
9/18/1873 - Failure of major banking house Jay Cooke & Company precipitates national depression.
9/20/1873 - Explosion and fire in Yellow Jacket mine.
12/1873 - Production from Comstock mines soars to $21,534,727, about $398.8 million in 2010 dollars.

1874

10/30/1874 - Fire in the Belcher mine south of the Yellow Jacket and Crown Point mines in Gold Hill destroys the air shaft and releases column of flame 500 feet high.
12/1874 - Silver production on the Comstock rises further to $22,400,783, about $439.2 million in 2010 dollars.

1875

1/8/1875 - Silver stock market collapses.
8/26/1875 - Bank of California shuts its doors due to bank run; reopens 10/2/1875.

10/26/1875 - Fire destroys most of Virginia City; 33 city blocks burned to the ground, but the mines were spared.
12/1875 - Silver production on the Comstock rises further to $26,023,036, about $525.7 million in 2010 dollars.

1876

12/1876 - Production from Comstock mines soars to $38,048,146, , about $792.7 million in 2010 dollars, its all time high.

1877

12/1877 - Production from Comstock mines declines to $37,062,252, about $772.1 million in 2010 dollars.

1878

12/1878 - Production from Comstock mines plunges to $20,436,685, about $469.8 million in 2010 dollars.

1879

12/1879 - Production from Comstock mines plummets by over 65% to $7,477,591, about $178.0 million in 2010 dollars.

1880

12/1879 - Production from Comstock mines collapses to $1,903,132, about $43.7 million in 2010 dollars, and never recovers.