More than $3,000 raised in mine benefit |

More than $3,000 raised in mine benefit

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Photo special to the Nevada Appeal Chollar Mine owners Chris and Penny Kiechler receive a check for $2,352 from Henry Kilmer, right, president of Piper's Opera House Programs Inc. board of directors. The donation came from ticket sales to a benefit concert held Saturday at Piper's Opera House to help rebuild the Chollar Mine office building that burned in January. In addition, the Chollar Mine received private donations of $830 for a total of $3,182 raised.

A benefit show led by local entertainer John Tyson at Piper’s Opera House on Saturday raised $3,182 to help rebuild a building at the historic Chollar Mine.

Henry Kilmer, president of the board of directors of Piper’s Opera House Programs, Inc., presented a check Tuesday to Chris and Penny Kiechler, owner of the mine.

The mine office in an old building at the Virginia City mine, which offers tours in the summer months, burned down Jan. 4, destroying the building and many documents, photos and artifacts it contained. The cause of the fire was electrical.

The Kiechlers could not obtain insurance on the building because of its age, condition and lack of a foundation. But they still plan to rebuild.

“It was wonderful,” Chris Kiechler said. “It makes you realize how many friends you have. It was great having all my friends come out and seeing the community come together.”

Tyson suggested the fundraiser, and Piper’s Opera House executive director Pauline Fitzpatrick organized it.

“I thought it was fun and was glad to be able to do it,” she said. “It was good seeing people I hadn’t seen in years. And I think a lot of others saw people they hadn’t seen in years.”

The event drew a sellout crowd of 300 for the 2 p.m. show and a little more than half that for the 6 p.m. show, she said.

“One of the great things was seeing people perform with performers they aren’t accustomed to being paired with,” she said.

The gate receipts raised $2,352. Other donations made out to the Chollar Mine came to $830, for a total of $3,182.

All performances were donated, as was the hall. Piper’s Opera House benefited from the bar receipts to pay its expenses.

“We have a high mortgage payment, high utilities and high insurance, and those have to be paid,” Fitzpatrick said.

Chris Kiechler said the money will go toward building materials.

“Some of it is already committed for the cement for the slab,” he said. “Plus we have to order trusses for the roof and door frames and doors. It will all go to the building fund.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.