Virginia City, Montana
V.C.P.A. - Virginia City Preservation Alliance
The Mission of the VCPA continues to be to preserve, restore and display structures and artifacts related to the history of Virginia City, to tell the story of the western mining frontier, and to protect the integrity of the local community. We are a registered 501.c3, non-profit, organization.
Among the recent activities of the VCPA have been: the restoration of the "Hangman's Building" (including an interior exhibit as it appeared when it was the office of the Virginia City Water Company and an historic timeline display), extensive maintenance to the historic "Robber's Roost" stagecoach station near Laurin; and reconstruction of the original Ruby Valley cabin of Frank Bird Linderman.
Other activities include sponsoring annual educational programs, providing scholarships to the Montana History Camp, and hosting the very popular re-enactment Victorian-era balls. The VCPA also annually recognizes businesses and individuals for outstanding work in historic preservation efforts.
Since 1995, the VCPA has published the Virginia City Nugget. This quarterly journal is provided to all members to share current association news and historical stories. In 2013, the 150th anniversary of the founding of Virginia City, we published an anthology of articles. This book preserves stories of some of the memorable events, the famous and infamous characters, and the historic buildings which have played a role in the wonderfully colorful history of this special place.
Please consider joining us in our efforts to preserve and foster the history of Virginia City and the Alder Gulch. Membership in the VCPA is through an annual contribution at any one of several gift levels. Please visit the "Membership" page of this website for more information.
"Virginia! How great was Virginia!
She sat like a queen beside a golden stream..."
A.Noyes, A Short History of Southern Montana.
From the time the six original discovery men returned to the site they had christened Alder Creek-with a few hundred new friends-the quiet fourteen mile gulch would awaken to a 24/7 cacophony that would last through the remainder of the 1860's, when Virginia City was the epicenter of the Montana Territory. Thousands of hopeful new immigrants from virtually every state and dozens of countries swarmed to this new metropolis which became the first territorial capital, founding site of many social and cultural organizations, and was home to virtually all of the famous (and some of the most infamous) personalities in the history of early Montana.
As the "easy" recovery of gold played out, however, most of the population moved on and-when the capital was removed to Helena in 1875 -many of the vacant homes and businesses of Virginia City began a steady decline. By the time Charlie Bovey first visited in the autumn of 1947, many of the original buildings had been destroyed or had badly deteriorated. Thankfully, Charlie and his wife, Sue, had the vision to realize the importance of saving this treasure of Montana's history and the resources and determination to do so. Over the next 32 years, the Boveys would acquire approximately 200 Virginia City properties and thousands of artifacts which they protected and stabilized.
Following the death of Charlie Bovey (in 1978) and Sue (in 1988), the continued private management of the Virginia City and Nevada City properties became an overwhelming task. Rather than have the properties and artifacts sold off piecemeal or removed from Montana, a determined group of area residents came together in 1994 to form the Virginia City Preservation Alliance (VCPA). Through their tireless efforts,
the Montana State Legislature voted in 1997 to purchase the Bovey properties and established the Montana Heritage Commission to manage
this incredible historical resource.
Today, the VCPA continues as a membership-based, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the historic properties of Virginia City and fostering an appreciation for its wonderful history. Please join us!