Sue Morrow: Virginia City makes magazine’s list of top Western towns
For the Nevada Appeal
Virginia City’s Jim Clark, aka the Train Man, and a former Carson City resident, continues his efforts to promote and bring visitors to the area.
Clark, who became the go-to man for movies and TV shows, has provided trains and built tracks for Western, action and other productions. He’s also owned three shortline railroads in Southern California and has worked on more than 200 movies, appearing in some as a stunt man. His credits include the motion picture “Wild Wild West” and TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
Clark hopes to bring the film industry to Virginia City where a train, the V&T Railroad, already exists.
In the meantime, he is committed to bringing the area to the public’s attention.
Largely because of his input, True West magazine recently ranked Virginia City its No. 1 of
10 top Western towns of the year. An article he wrote for the magazine’s March issue gives a nice plug for Carson City’s Nevada State Railroad Museum.
In selecting Virginia City, the magazine noted that the town, with a population of about 1,000, is a National Historic Landmark that attracts more than two million visitors a year.
“What Virginia City does have,” said the article, “is a good reason to be a national landmark.”
Mentioned are the boardwalks that line the streets “showing off the remarkable collection of 19th century buildings, abandoned mine shafts and thousands of archaeological sites.”
The article also points to “notable buildings” such as the First Presbyterian Church that was one of just a few buildings that survived the town’s Great Fire of 1875, the Territorial Enterprise newspaper building where reporter Mark Twain plied his craft, and Piper’s Opera House.
True West also noted that the National Trust named Virginia City one of the 12 Distinguished Destinations in 2009 and said the town was its No. 1 choice “precisely because it is such a richly preserved heritage town.”
Clark’s article in the magazine’s March issue, titled “Movie Trains,” alerts readers to locales where “some of the locomotives and rolling stock featured in Hollywood Westerns are on exhibit at museums, a film lot, a state park and railroads.”
At the top of the listing is the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, where four locomotives came from the V&T and one from the Dardenelle & Russellville Railroad. Rolling stock is also on exhibit at the museum.
Clark also listed the films for which these locomotives were used, including “Red River,” “Duel in the Sun,” “Wells Fargo” and “Jesse James.” and the TV series “Wild Wild West.”
When I saw some of those Western movies years ago I could never have envisioned that someday their railroad equipment would be on display in Nevada’s capital city.
• Sue Morrow is a longtime journalist and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. She may be reached at soozy