New archaeological site curtails Storey County's plans to build water tanks

VIRGINIA CITY - A Virginia City archaeological find that includes 19th century artifacts found among the foundations of old homes has curtailed the city's plans to erect two water tanks on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.

Storey County Commissioners approved a plan Tuesday to build only one of the two proposed water tanks, and move that 1.2 million gallon raw water tank farther from the archeological site.

George Georgeson, president of Consulting Services Associates of Reno, said he changed Storey County's plans for the water tanks because of this significant cultural find.

"They (archeologists) were really excited about it, but they wouldn't tell me a whole lot," Georgeson said.

The BLM required Storey County to hire an archeologist to investigate the site.

Charles Zeier, project archeologist with Geoarch Sciences of Carson City, said they found a late-19th-century Virginia City neighborhood on the BLM land.

"The area used to be a small neighborhood on the edge of Virginia City, apparently during the 1860s and 1870s," he said. "We don't know what people group. Our archeologist identified foundations that were once associated with their homes."

Zeier said the BLM knew the site was there. To protect the site from vandals, the exact location and size of the site was not disclosed. Whether the site will be excavated is "up in the air at the moment."

Georgeson, who is Storey County's engineer for this project, said the raw water tank will cost the county about $700,000, which includes the construction, engineering and archeological work, plus hiring a project manager.

"We're going to try to avoid the archeologically significant areas," he said.

The water tank will be located northwest of the county's treatment plant, and just below the two existing treated water storage tanks. The 24-foot-tall water tank will have two retaining walls. It will hold water from Hobart Reservoir, then send it to the treatment plant, up to the two storage tanks on the hill and then into the city water system.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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