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Virginia City, Mont.: 5 Things We Love

Ghosts, good eats, and gold rush history fill this former Montana capital.

a view of Virginia City, Montana, image
Photo caption
Virginia City is an Old West gem that has stood the test of time.


Surrounded by mine-riddled hills, "VC" is both a gold rush center and residential hub, with a courthouse, hardy year-rounders, and good eats. Montana's capital from 1865 to 1875, the town turns 150 this year. Download maps at Area code is 406.

1  Wander the boardwalks of main drag Wallace Street to peer through windows into the past or step inside buildings that house one of the largest batches of period artifacts outside the Smithsonian. Need a petticoat? Find one at Rank's Mercantile, open since 1864.

2  Before the 1863 boom, the Lemhi-Shoshone people used this site as a summer camp, but an 1868 treaty removed them to Idaho. During Treaty Days, July 19 through 21 this year, VC welcomes them back with dancing, historical lectures, and feasting.

3  Refresh yourself with chicken Alfredo pizza or a turkey sandwich with pesto at Bob's Place, a local favorite housed in the former capital offices. 843-5292,

4  Learn your fortune or hear a harp play itself. VC and neighboring Nevada City share a wealth of early-20th century arcade and music machines. In working mutoscopes, the Hindenburg burns, Babe Ruth bats, and Tom Mix gets the girl.

5  VC is haunted. You can see for yourself at the Fairweather Inn (843-5377,, or go strolling at night. A ghost walk leaves the Bale of Hay Saloon most nights at 9. 843-5700,

Photography courtesy of SchmuckyTheCat/Wikipedia

This article was first published in July 2013. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.