American Road Trip West, Part 7

Westward ho and away we go—to Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana. The two towns are separated by a mile or so, but they function as one museum of the Old West.

Virginia City, Montana

Virginia City, Montana

Virginia City is a little town in the mountains with a remarkably preserved main street from the mining days of the 1800s. Businesses like Bob’s Place (pizza!) are interspersed amid the old shops where it looks like the residents just up and skedaddled. Not much restoration here. You stand at the open door of the mercantile and peer in at the dust-coated merchandise stocking the shelves.

Dusty merchandise from the 1800's.

Dusty merchandise from the 1800s.

Tour the town in a stagecoach.

Tour the town in a stagecoach.

Nevada City is a collection of old buildings, some original to the site.

Nevada City, Montana

Nevada City, Montana

Here volunteers perform living history on the weekends. We caught the last performance of the season: The Hanging of Jack Slade. I wandered off to the side and took pictures of fancy chickens rather than watch Jack swing._DSC0455

These two wide spots on a western road were our furthest points west. The towns intrigued my husband when he read “Death of a Gunfighter: The Quest for Jack Slade, The West’s Most Elusive Legend” by Dan Rottenberg, so off we went.

If you want to see this part of the Old West, you’d better hurry. These towns are extraordinary, but the years are taking their toll. When I compare this wonderful piece of history to the glitzy museum at Cody, I really realize how much money it takes to preserve our history. These towns aren’t on the way to anywhere—your destination would be here, or you’ll miss it.

A jewel worth preserving.

A jewel worth preserving.

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