Gold was found here in 1859 by two miners. Along came Henry Comstock who claimed the gold was on his property. The guillible miners believed him and the giant lode became known as the Comstock Lode.
The mud in this new town was assayed and it proved to be silver ore worth over $2000 a ton (in 1859 dollars). President Lincoln needed this gold and silver to keep the Union solvent during the Civil War. On Octber 31, 1864, Lincoln made Nevada a state although it did not contain enough people to constitutionally authorize statehood.
Virginia City became the most important settlement between Denver and San Francisco. The investments made in mining on the Comstock in the 1860's, 1870's, and 1880's fueld the building of San Francisco.
At it's peak, the city had nearly 30,000 residents. The International Hotel was six stories and had the West's first elevator.