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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Showing 11 comments
  • Jennifer
    Reply

    Hi, I have a local nonprofit paranormal team out of Minden called Virtual Vibes Of The Paranormal. We are very interested in Dayton and very soon we will be investigating the old school house that is now the Dayton museum. We have done quite a bit of investigating around Dayton and just really enjoy the location. I was wondering if anyone knew who I could get in contact with to maybe do an investigation in the tunnels?

    Thank You
    Virtual Vibes Of The Paranormal

  • Ned
    Reply

    Whereabouts in Virginia City is the other end located?

    • George Green
      Reply

      town of Dayton NV, it is on private property

  • DbMc
    Reply

    I was last in the tunnel with a friend (Bruce Campbell) yes – the one from Evil Dead back in 1995, but we got permission to go inside. Prior to that, I could tell you a story about finding it in 1992 and going inside for the first time. Now-a-days there is a huge subdivision of homes all over what used to be the town of Sutro. I love VC & Nevada History, and miss living out there.

  • IJL
    Reply

    What’s the status of the tunnel now? I remember visiting it when very young. I suppose in today’s world access is denied.

  • Historian
    Reply

    Fred, go read the full story, then perhaps rethink your off-base comment. It is completely wrong.

    • Justin
      Reply

      Are you allowed to visit this site or is it private property?

      • Howard Goldbaum
        Reply

        Unfortunately, it is on private property.

  • William
    Reply

    Maybe the mines deep and full of water could solve Calfifornia’s water problem

  • Fred
    Reply

    A Tunnel not functional or needed by the time it was done? A man got rich digging a useless hole? Forget the Product (Gold), instead, provide the Means of Production. Ain’t That America……………..

    • pam
      Reply

      Fred, Sutro tried to get investors and others on board for five years; when they finally agreed, it took some time to build it, then the vein ran out.

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