Mining is one of the major parts of Nevada history that many locals are very familiar with. However, since the 1940's tourists have been discovering what life was like for miners back in the 19th century, especially when they visit Virginia City's Chollar Mine. The tour is short, but the in depth information that is packed into that short period of time by well-trained and friendly guides is definitely worth the effort.
Found in the Carson River Basin, silver and gold ore was discovered first in the mid-1800's. In fact, it is the area's oldest mining facility, and was responsible for the production of many millions of dollars in crude ore. Named in honor of Billy Chollar, the prospector that first discovered its riches, it remained open for some eighty years, and during those years amalgamated along the way with the nearby Potosi Mine. By 1887, a mill was built to handle the massive quantities of ore being pulled from its depths, but by the end of World War II it was closed, its supplies almost spent.
Though Virginia City sits atop many other mines and some six hundred and fifty tunnels, the Chollar is one of the few remaining that are viewable by the general public. Tours make their descent down some one hundred meters, revealing the hard existence that many miners had to endure.
The mine is open daily from Memorial Day through to Labor Day. Prices are very reasonable, starting at $5 for adults and $1 for kids (ages four to fourteen), and special group rates are available.