In the 1940s, Charles and Sue Bovey began buying the town, putting much needed maintenance into failing structures. The ghost town of Virginia City began to be restored for tourism in the 1950s. Most of the city is now owned by the state government and is a National Historic Landmark operated as an open air museum. Of the nearly three hundred structures in town, almost half were built prior to 1900. Buildings in their original condition with Old West period displays and information plaques stand next to thoroughly modern diners and other amenities.There was a muscle car show being held while we were there.
On the way to Virginia City, we passed through the little town of Ennis, Mt and noticed they were having an arts and crafts festival in their park, so we stopped to check it out. This is the same town we had our flat tire fixed mentioned in an earlier post. This whole area is in a part of Montana that is known as Madison Valley which is very historic and very scenic. The landscape pictures don't begin to do the valley justice as it was hazy or smokey while there, but has to be one of the more picturesque areas we've seen.
In route to Virginia City, we passed through an area known as Earthquake Lake.
This area suffered an earthquake on August 17, 1959 killing 28 people. The earthquake caused the side of a mountain to be dislodged and slide down into the Madison River forming a dam that created a new lake. The water level rose about 9 ft per day until reaching a maximum depth of 190 ft. The trees you see in the water in the last 2 pictures were originally around the river bed, but were submerged when the lake was formed. I didn't get a picture of the mountain, but it is very clear where the mountainside dislodged and slid down into the river. Pretty scary!
|Sign detailing the history of the Madison Valley|
|Really kool sign coming into Ennis, Mt.|
|Fishing in the Madison River. We saw a large number of boats on the river as well as a large number of fishing guide services.|
|Arts and Crafts Festival in Ennis, Mt.|
|Talented lady playing an accordion|
|Crafts made from forged steel|
|Lively band providing music for the festival|
|A cowboy and his dog.|
|Another vehicle from North Carolina, way out here!|
|Buildings in downtown Virginia City|
|This building is one of the oldest in Virginia City. The placard states the Montana legislature met here when Virginia City was the capitol of Montana. Today it's a store selling western clothing.|
|This building caught my eye because it's a Masonic building and was the first lodge chartered in Montana.|
|Historic tours given on a old fire engine.|
|Historic tours given on a stage coach.|
|There was a car show going on in town while we were there.|
|I asked this cowboy and cowgirl to pose for me.|
|Front side of stage coach. Young lady driving the team was very friendly.|
|Beautiful Madison Valley|
|I would love to see this view on a clear sunny day.|
|Grave marker we found at the pull off where the previous 2 pictures were made. I imagine some type of special permission was obtained to bury someone on that site.|
|Cell tower disguised as a tree located on the road to Madison Valley|