Explore the town of Sutro. Click the hotspots to proceed into the mouth of the tunnel.
When gushing hot water threatened the production of the ever-deepening Virginia City mines, bonanza-era entrepreneur Adolph Sutro offered an audacious solution. He would build a tunnel, an astonishing 20,489 feet long excavation through the rock, from the Carson River Valley near Dayton, on a gentle incline up to the Comstock’s mines at a depth of 1,640 feet. After nearly a decade of digging, the tunnel was completed in 1878, just as the rich veins of the Virginia City mines were beginning to play out. Sutro saw his moment, sold his tunnel, and moved to San Francisco. There, his Comstock fortune helped him build the Cliff House, the Sutro Baths, and the Sutro Library. He was the mayor of San Francisco from 1895 to 1897. Adolph Sutro died in 1898, but his engineering marvel on the Comstock, now mostly impassable, continues to drain hot water from the historic mines of Virginia City.
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