This brick building was built in 1876 as the third and final office of
Nevada's first newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise. The Enterprise
was established as a weekly paper in Genoa, Nevada, in 1858 and published
in Virginia City beginning in 1860. An example of vernacular 19th-century
commercial style, the building was constructed with a high decorative
parapet and a cast-iron storefront with fluted Tuscan pilasters. The first
steam-activated press in Nevada was installed in the building at the time
of its construction.
Territorial Enterprise Building, home
to Nevada's first newspaper
Photo by Terri McBride,
Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
The Enterprise was known for the flamboyant style of journalism
developed in its earlier years by such writers as Mark Twain and Dan DeQuille.
While reporting on the Nevada constitutional convention for the Enterprise,
Samuel Clemens began using his penname Mark Twain. During his time with
the paper, Twain gathered material for his stories and books from the
colorful characters and activities of the Comstock. William Sharon of
the Bank of California purchased the paper in 1874 for an estimated $500,000
in order to silence the paper's criticism of him. The paper suspended
publication in 1893, but was revived in 1895 when the first Linotype
west of the Mississippi was installed. It shut down again in 1916, only
to be revived again in 1952 by Charles Clegg and Lucius
Beebe, both New York journalists and prominent historians of the West.
The present porch was constructed by Beebe and Clegg using cast iron pillars
from an adjacent derelict building.
Territorial Enterprise Building in 1937
Photo by Robert W. Kerrigan, Library of Congress, Prints and
Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, Reproduction
Number HABS, NEV,15-VIRG,6-1
The Territorial Enterprise Building is located at 23 South C St.
in Virginia City. The Mark Twain Museum is housed here; call 775-847-0525
for museum hours.