Wild, Wild West
Virginia City - A Boom Town

Virginia City - A Boom Town
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.51

     challenging words:    influx, placer, theaters, nugget, mines, earning, riches, mining, valuable, rebuild, banks, debt, history, territory, strike, fell
     content words:    Virginia City, In January, James Finney, Frank Comstock, Old Virginny, Comstock Lode, Carson City

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Virginia City - A Boom Town
By Jane Runyon

1     When you study history, you find that a great many explorers of new territory did so for one reason. Many of these people came to unknown areas to find a way to get rich. Spanish explorers came to the new world when they heard stories of cities made of gold. Colonists in the new America dreamed of breaking free from debt and earning riches in the new land. As more and more people from around the world moved to the new America, more and more moved west to find their "pot of gold."
2     For some of these pioneers, gold was exactly what they were looking for. Gold was discovered in California in 1849 at Sutter's Mill. That brought an influx of miners, called 49ers, in search of that patch of earth that would make them millionaires. Most of them found very little. Some stayed around for years looking. Others moved on to search in other areas.
3     Ten years after the California gold rush, gold was found just south of what is now Virginia City, Nevada. The Grosh brothers were the first to strike it rich. It didn't take long before other miners heard of their luck and moved into the area. At this time, gold mining was still done by the placer method. Prospectors would find a creek with flowing water. They would place a pan into a rocky area where they believed they would find gold. They would place the pan in the stream and allow the water to wash the dirt and mud off the rocks. The prospector would examine each rock and decide whether it was a gold nugget or not.

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