VIRGINIA CITY - Despite the presence of Gov. Kenny Guinn, State Historic Preservation Officer Ron James and numerous local politicians, the biggest draw was the Dayton engine.
After months of anticipation, the Comstock History Museum officially opened its doors to the public Friday afternoon, giving visitors their first chance to see the restored Virginia & Truckee No. 18 Dayton steam locomotive that is the museum's star attraction. The restored engine sits atop constructed rails on a bed of white rock in its own display room on the east side of the building, located at 20 N. E St.
Bryan Stockton, of Gardnerville, was among the first visitors to take in the museum during the open house Friday afternoon.
"It's really nice and the train is amazing. I've never been this close to a train to see all the details. I think it's a good addition to Virginia City," said Stockton.
In addition to the museum, the building also serves as the meeting place for the Comstock Historic District Commission. It was created by Carson City Architect John Copoulos and was constructed in just under a year by Miles Brothers Construction.
"This building is a work of art. The building was conceived of and built on the great artistry and ideas of John Copoulos," said Ron James, state historic preservation officer.
Museum manager Jeff Wood hopes the museum will serve as an outpost of the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City and provide a history of the Comstock.
"It's just one more appropriate addition to allow us to share the history of Virginia City," Wood said. "It will be great to be able to share not just information on the V&T but also the cultural history of the area."
Kim Fegert, who laid the tracks for the museum and is involved with the reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railway from Virginia City to Carson City, said the completion of the museum is a good first step.
"This is one piece of a giant puzzle. It's nice to have at least something right here in Virginia City. This little thing can draw attention to this project and help people see that the larger project is on the way," said Fegert.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.