Steamscape: Gold Hill Depot. After a brief stop to exchange crew members, V&T Locomotive #29 barks loudly as she drags her short freight up the very steep grade that begins the last mile of her trip to Virginia City.
The depot and freight house building depicted here was the center of rail activity during the Comstock mining boom in the once-bustling town of Gold Hill. Unlike Virginia City, Gold Hill today is just a shell of its former self. But back in the late 1800s and early 1900s this place was a jam-packed mining and processing town, with wall-to-wall wooden buildings and mining structures. The fact that Gold Hill became such a thriving metropolis is really astounding, when you consider the fact that there is almost no flat land in in the town, other than the spot you are looking at.
Back in the its heyday, the V&T Depot didn't look so lonely. The main line ran around the right side of this building as you see it, much as the new V&T's line does today, and a siding ran around the left side. Many buildings surrounded the immediate area. If you look at historic photos, Gold Hill was one busy place. When the mining business went bust in the early 1900s, so did Gold Hill. By 1938, the V&T had pulled out, and the place literally became a classic ghost town. In the ensuing years, most of the buildings were torn down, but somehow, this one survived. In recent years, the Gold Hill Historical Society has done a lot of restoration work on the building and the hope is that the state will find the money to open it up to the public. With the V&T running regular excursions to this spot in the summer, there certainly is incentive for this to happen. Until then however, the old depot is but a great prop for a photo op and we made great use of it on our 2020 Lerro Productions Charter at the new V&T.