Title: Nevada Railroads Records
The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
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[Identification of item], Nevada Railroads Records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Among the great names produced by Nevada's Comstock Lode are Adolph Sutro, Virginia & Truckee and the ring (William C. Ralston,
Darius O. Mills and William Sharon) who owned the Bank of California. Sharon was the bank's representative in the Comstock.
Ralston was the power behind the bank although he assumed only the modest title of cashier.
Adolph Sutro first came to the Comstock from San Francisco in 1860. He envisioned the great wealth to come from the Lode and
conceived the idea that the most economical method of developing the mines was to drive a tunnel, nearly four miles in length,
from the floor of Carson Valley, under the mines, then sink the mine shafts to meet it and remove the ore and drain the water
from the mines through the tunnel instead of lifting to the surface.
Sutro with a small amount of money, on October 18, 1865, started work on the tunnel, but met with great difficulty in financing
it, and the opposition of the powerful Bank of California, although Ralston had at first approved the project.
Ralston desired to control every part of the Comstock. He made loans to the mills at lower rates than his competitors, foreclosed
when they were unable to pay, and thus the bank became the owner of the principal mills situated along the banks of the Carson
Sharon proposed building a railroad from the Comstock to the Carson River to haul the ore to the bank's mills and on the return
trip take up the enormous quantities of timber needed for shoring in the mines and wood for fuel for the steam engines.
Sharon's proposal was accepted and he with Ralston and Mills organized the Virginia and Truckee Railroad Company and in 1868
the line was built from Virginia to Carson, a distance of 21 miles.
To connect with the Central Pacific Railroad at Reno the line, in 1872 was extended to the banks of the Truckee River at Reno,
a distance of 31 miles.
H. M. Yerington who had been a mill owner but who had lost out to the Bank of California was employed as General Superintendent
which post he held for many years until his death.
In 1876 a branch to Genoa was located, but never built.
On July 8, 1878 after fourteen years of untiring labor and overcoming opposition, Sutro completed the tunnel.
To connect the Virginia and Truckee with the then booming mining towns of Hawthorne, Candeleria, Bodie, Aurora and Benton,
the Carson and Colorado Railroad, three foot narrow gauge, ws built in 1881-1883 from Mound House, nine miles east of Carson
on the Virginia and Truckee, to Hawley (later Keeler) California, a distance of 293 miles. Originally it was intended that
the railroad extend to the Colorado River, but it was never built farther than Hawley.
The Carson and Colorado Railroad was sold to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1900.
In 1906 a branch from Carson to Minden, a distance of 15 miles, was built.
The line from Virginia to Carson was abandoned c. 1938.
On May 31, 1950 the Virginia and Truckee Railroad was completely abandoned.