Old Virginia City Jewish Cemetery

Old Virginia City Jewish Cemetery

An 1864 listing in the Mercantile guide & Directory for Virginia City, Gold HIll, Silver City & American City noted that “The Eureka (Hebrew) Society have purchased a plot of ground on Cedar Hill, to be used as a cemetery, which they have fenced in and otherwise improved. The Society have displayed a great deal of good taste, and expended a large sum of money in ornamenting their grounds.” The cemetery is isolated in a canyon a half-mile north of the main city cemetery.


“During the height of the Comstock, this cemetery served the burial needs for Virginia City’s thriving Jewish community. The cemetery was established in 1863. As the Comstock mining activity ebbed in the late 1880s…Virginia City’s population began to shrink. As a result, the cemeteries, including the Hebrew cemetery, fell into disrepair and over the next 100 years desert vegetation reclaimed the landscape. Unfortunately, the cemetery has been the subject of anti-Semitic vandalism on several occasions during the last one hundred years. Headstones have been destroyed or defaced and the cemetery generally desecrated.” See more here. Other sources claim that the broken tombstones resulted from cattle grazing within the cemetery before it was surrounded by a fence. If that be the case, however, it is ironic that the sole unbroken tombstone, that of Amelia McCreadie, is one without a Jewish sounding name. Whatever the cause of the desecration in Virginia City, it did not survive as well as the Jewish cemetery in Prague, which survived largely intact after the murderous Nazi era.


  • Michael Abel
    Posted at 22:04h, 07 July Reply

    Chabad of South Lake Tahoe has voluntarily maintained (stabilized) the cemetery for the last 6 years. Each year, we organize a group to mitigate the invasive species, sagebrush and grasses that are natural to the area. You may contact me off line to get directions to the cemetery. It is down a rough dirt road and it requires about a 200 yard hike over difficult terrain to visit the site. There is just a little parking on the road so you must be polite to the adjacent property owners. DO NOT BLOCK THE ROAD OR ANY DRIVEWAYS. It is a historical site and present burials are not possible.

  • Roni Silverberg
    Posted at 21:10h, 30 July Reply

    Where is the cemetery located – directions from Virginia City – and may I visit it?

    • Howard Goldbaum
      Posted at 08:00h, 05 August Reply

      Yes, you may visit the cemetery. It is accessible by an unmaintained dirt road from the main Virginia City cemetery parking area. 4WD high-clearance recommended; I would not suggest this drive in the winter or after a rainstorm.

  • Benyamin A Stine
    Posted at 12:28h, 18 July Reply

    Is it possible to purchase a grave site in this cemetery?

  • Lauren Green
    Posted at 16:31h, 24 March Reply

    Thanks for the info! Here now, and appreciated the historical background and pictures.

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