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Virginia City- Union Iron Works

Storey County

Being a very proud, native Nevadan, it is an honor to share my paternal namesake with one of the men who built the first iron foundry in the state. Nevada Historical Marker No. 185 is dedicated to this piece of Comstock history. The marker is located on the Divide between Gold Hill and Virginia City. In 1862, Mead(e), McCone and Tascar (Tasker, Tascal) established a foundry at Johntown in Gold Canyon, right below Silver City. In October of 1863, the Gold Hill Daily News reported that these men had invented a new pulverizing machine for crushing ore. This invention was said to be state-of-the-art. The article stated that the machine "accomplishes the object for which it is designed, in the most perfect manner." An article in December of 1863 reported that it was the first of its kind built in the Nevada territory. It was built at "Meade & Tasker's foundry below Silver City." Ads and articles appeared in the Gold Hill Daily News in 1865 citing a new foundry in Silver City as the "Nevada Foundry" operated by "Mead & McCone". It was built and completed in the summer and fall of 1865. An equipment presentation was given where mining superintendents, millmen, machinists and foundrymen from all over country attended. In 1866, an individual referred to as "Mr. Fountain" was listed as the foreman of the machine shop. At a time somewhere between 1866 and 1868, Mead(e) and McCone may have gone their separate ways. The historical marker listed above cites this year as 1866. A Gold Hill Daily News article from November of 1868 claimed that the frame for Mead's new foundry had been erected and that the shop would be completed within weeks. This new foundry was located on the Divide. By January of 1869, ads appeared in the Gold Hill Daily News calling this new establishment "Union Iron Works" with "J.F. Mead, W. Cornelius and S. Fountain" as proprietors..... Today, you can still walk the main street of Virginia City (C Street) and the see the inscription of "U.I. Works" and "U.I. Works 1875" at the base of many of the big buildings along the boardwalk. The great fire of 1875 in Virginia City wiped out a large portion of town. I need to do some research to find out if these buildings were built in 1875 and survived the fire, or if the original buildings burned and these were the buildings that sprang up after the fire.

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