The Silver Terrace Cemeteries are a series of terraces dramatically located
on the steep, windswept hillside of Virginia City. As this booming mining
camp became a more permanent settlement, the need arose to establish a
cemetery. Beginning in the 1860s, a wide variety of fraternal, civic and
religious groups established burial yards on the hillside including the
Masons, Pacific Coast Pioneers, Knights of Pythias, Firemen, Wilson and
Brown, Improved Order of Redmen, Roman Catholic, and the city and county.
Nearly every plot is fenced or bordered, a typical practice of the Victorian
period. The characteristic features of this burial place reflect the breadth
of styles and designs popular during its long history.
View of Cemetery in 1940
Photo courtesy of Library
of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American
Buildings Survey, Reproduction Number HABS, NEV,15-VIRG,35-3
Grave markers range in materials from wood to metal to cut stone. The
inscriptions on the markers give silent testimony to the social and economic
fabric of Virginia City. The majority date to before 1920. Very few of
the adults buried in these cemeteries were born in Nevada. The birthplaces
noted throughout the grounds provide a glimpse of the scope of immigration
and the makeup of the settlement that supported the Comstock mining industry.
The historic significance of the cemeteries enabled them to qualify for
America's Treasures grant through the National Park Service. Restoration
is under way.
The cemetery is located on a steep
Photo by Terri McBride, courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation
The Silver Terrace Cemeteries are located at the end of North E
St., northeast of the C St. business district in Virginia City. The
cemeteries are open to the public daily, but close at dusk.