Railroad Reconstruction Sale
It’s history in the making. The Gold Hill Historical Society is raising funds to help complete a quarter-mile of rail line from the Gold Hill Depot to the Overman Pit.
To fund the project, they’re “selling” lengths of track. The going rate is $100 per foot of track or $50 per foot of rail (one side of the track).
Donors receive a certificate aknowledging their participation, together with some authentic artifacts: a small length of telegraph wire and piece of wood from the V&T’s original Gold Hill operation. Those who wish can have their name engraved on a brass plaque, to be displayed near the Gold Hill Depot.
“We’re going to need at least $25,000 to cover grading and engineering expenses,” said society spokesperson Richard Feutz.
Society president Kim Fegert said he hopes to raise $30,000 for the effort, to help with any unexpected problems.
“Our official kick-off date for the fund-raiser is Wednesday, but we’ve already received large commitments from several Virginia City businesses,” he said. “We’d like to challenge Carson City businesses to match them. Construction of the track is our main goal, but anything (extra) will be applied to the (Gold Hill) depot renovation.”
The bulk of the materials, 600 tons of ballast, 50 railroad ties and 1,300 feet of rail, were donated by Total Energy Co. of New York, an organization that salvages gas and power plant supplies from old sites to resell overseas. Transported from the Reno-Sparks area months ago, the materials are stacked neatly at the Gold Hill Depot.
Fegert said he hopes to get the project under way next summer, but the date is not cast in stone.
Environmental concerns must first be addressed and could lead to delays, according to Dennis Coyle, senior road designer for the Nevada Department of Transportation. The public comment so critical to this process has yet to be initiated and conclusions aren’t expected until late summer.
“An environmental assessment is being conducted, which could lead to an environmental impact statement if there are any significant findings,” he said. “But we don’t think there will be any serious environmental impacts.”
In addition to rebuilding the railway, society members have been working for 10 years to restore the Gold Hill Depot. Built in 1869 as a temporary facility, it served both passengers and freight until its closure in 1938.
The building is cleaned up, has a new coat of paint and society members added have added a new roof with a $28,000 grant from the state’s Commission for Cultural Affairs.
They applied for another $50,000 grant through the commission to reconstruct the building’s foundation, but won’t know if they’ve received that grant until February.
Any funds remaining once the railway project is completed will be used for the depot and will be used primarily as matching funds for future grants.
Please send donations or inquiries to the Gold Hill Historical Society Reconstruction Program, P.O. Box 1052, Virginia City, Nv. 89440. The society is a private, nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible. For more information, call Richard Feutz at 847-0140.