Visit Silver City’s 1860 Post Office
The Comstock community of Silver City, Nevada is sometimes mislabeled a “ghost town,” but it is far from it. Located just a three miles from Virginia City, the town is part of the region’s National Historic Landmark. Although the residents enjoy their privacy most of the year, they are also warm hosts to a number of free, public events and programs that are refreshingly distinct from cliched tourist destinations.
A Little History: Historians estimate that by 1861, Silver City had at least a dozen stores, 4 hotels, 3 blacksmith shops, 2 butcher shops, and a post office, serving a population of more than 1,000 people. An 1864 mercantile guide for the Comstock region described Silver City as a place where “citizens display a refined taste … by the numerous gardens and other external and substantial improvements that they are constantly making… Silver City is fully represented by societies, organizations and social institutions, which for numbers and unity, would be creditable to the reputation of larger cities.”
Today, the town of about 200 residents, with its historic buildings and sites, architecturally unusual homes and crystal clear views of the Sierras, attracts visiting plein air painters and photographers from across the nation.
Termed an “Arts and Cultural Resources Production Center” in 2015 for its 50 year record of contributions to the arts and cultural resources fields, Silver City counts a surprising number of visual artists, musicians, photographers, writers, actors, artisans, and academics as residents.
The close-knit town boasts a volunteer-run library, an organic community garden, frequent public events at the community center, a busy arts group, a historic preservation group, a resident artist program, a volunteer fire department, and an arts and science summer program that is free to youngsters in the northwestern Nevada region.
Silver City’s Historic Post Office: We’ll highlight several of the public programs and events in the town over the next year, but let’s begin with Silver City’s historic Post Office, an easy way to get an introduction to the community’s past and present. Established in 1860, the Silver City Post Office is located on the main drag through Silver City, just a short distance south of Gold Hill and Virginia City on State Route 342.
Suzanne Crowley is the extraordinarily personable Post Master, always willing to chat about local history if business is slow. The walls of the small post office are hung with historic photos and maps of the town that are well worth a look.The building also includes community bulletin boards with posts about current events, such as the January town soup social, a winter acoustic music jam session, notices about meetings of the Silver City Arts group and town council, invitations to events at the local Ashram, and exhibitions by local artists.
You’ll also find a display case with a new set of collections each month. In December, the Silver City Arts group is displaying a collection celebrating the music of present or past Silver City residents, such as Lynne Hughes, Daniel Yuhasz, Darius Javaher, Tal Morris, Will and Sheree Rose, Betty Kaplowitz, Tommy Thomsen, and bands such as the “Leftovers” youth band, Ukalocos, Sutro Sympathy Orchestra, Red Rose, Hammerstone, American Phlats, High Street Band, and others. Previous exhibits this year featured historic handmade iron objects from early miners; books by or about past and present Silver City residents; and photos from the Comstock Cemetery Foundation and the historic cemeteries of the Comstock, including Silver City’s carefully preserved burial grounds.
— Quest Lakes