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After fruitless panning along the Yellowstone River, six prospectors stumbled onto Alder Creek in May 1863, and their discovery of gold led to the establishment of a town. The settlement attracted thousands of miners and a band of renegades said to have committed more than 190 murders in 6 months. The miners formed a secret group called The Vigilantes, who captured and hanged 21 of the criminals, including the outlaws' leader, the sheriff.
One of the older cities in the state, Virginia City served as territorial capital 1865-75. More than 130 early buildings have been preserved; others have been reconstructed and can be visited. Among these are the state's first newspaper office, an equipped pharmacy of the period, the Wells Fargo Express Office, the Bale of Hay Saloon and general stores carrying 1860-80 merchandise. Boot Hill Cemetery contains the graves of road agents hanged by vigilantes in 1864.
Gold panning, hunting and fishing opportunities are available. A 1935 gold dredge can be seen at the River of Gold Mining Museum. All facilities are open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Visitor Info
Virginia City Visitor Information Center 300 W. Wallace St. VIRGINIA CITY, MT . Phone:(406)843-5247 or (800)829-2969

Things to See
Gilbert Brewery

GEM Description
This former mining town now features some 130 restored buildings as well as opportunities for fishing, hunting and gold panning.
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Current Location: Virginia City, Montana