Virginia City

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virginia city

town, seat (1876) of Madison county, southwestern Montana, U.S., on the Ruby River. Founded as Verona (after Varina Davis, wife of the president of the Confederate States of America) in 1863, when gold was discovered in nearby Alder Gulch, it was the first town to be incorporated (1864) in Montana and was the territorial capital from 1865 to 1875. The mines are no longer productive but the town has been reconstructed in the style prevalent during the days of the gold rush. Restored buildings include the offices of the Post, Montana's first newspaper (issued August 27, 1864). Pro-Northern vigilantes organized there in the 1860s and assassinated several residents, including the sheriff of the Bannack Mining District, suspected of sympathizing with the Confederate cause. The city was renowned for violence long after the end of the Civil War. Tourism, supplemented by livestock raising, is the economic mainstay. In the summer, 19th-century drama and vaudeville shows can be seen in the Opera House. Nevada City, just west, is also a reconstructed gold camp. Pop. (1990) 142; (2000) 130.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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