Travelers to northwestern Nevada will not want of historic sites to visit. The area was rich in gold and silver in the mid to late 19th Century, when Reno, Carson City, and particularly Virginia City served as pit stops for miners and others lured by the Comstock Lode. Naturally, many hotels and structures were built up in these areas to accommodate fast growing populations. But with the petering out of the Comstock Lode in the late 19th century, the relevance of towns like Virginia City declined. Consequently not many businesses survived that era, and there are only a few remaining historic hotels in region.
The oldest of these Nevada hotels is still in operation today and you can still book a room. The Gold Hill Hotel was built in 1861, and portions of the structure survived natural disasters and several different owners to become a quaint old time experience for modern travelers lodging in Virginia City. The hotel boasts historic guestrooms that the owners advertise as haunted. Guests can hang out in the old time saloon or enjoy a weekly historic lecture held on site.
The second oldest hotel in Nevada is the St. Charles Hotel in Carson City. This historic structure was erected in 1862 and became a major stage stop in town. After the decline of mining in the area, the hotel passed through hands of many owners and revived in various incarnations, most recently as restaurants and pubs. Today it is no longer a hotel but has been renovated as the Firkin and Fox Pub. Fortunately the owners have restored historic elements of the old building and visitors can experience a sense of its past.
Last but certainly not least is the Riverside Hotel in Reno. It was constructed in 1927 after the previous building was destroyed by fire, although the hotel’s roots go back much further to the 1860’s. In the 1920’s and 30’s the Riverside Hotel became internationally renowned when Reno’s divorced laws were relaxed, attracting well known figures from all over the country. Unfortunately none of us will be making reservations at the Riverside anytime soon. It was recently converted into studio and living spaces for artists.
Although most historic Nevada Hotels of Comstock Lode era no longer offer lodging, a handful of the structures survive. If you find yourself in the Reno, Carson City, Virginia City areas, consider visiting these historic hotels while they still stand.