This silver mine preserves two features of bygone practice. One is the reversible waterwheel of the ore-hoist, which originally was installed in 1565 and currently dates back to 1824. The present wheel is 9 meters in diameter and reaches a depth of 700 meters.
In the mid-1800s Virginia City was America's greatest producer of high-grade silver and gold ore. When mining activities began, natural springs provided water to the camps. As the population grew, the Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company was formed to address the need for more water. The company first drew water from tunnels that had been driven into the mountains by prospectors. Water was stored in wooden tanks and sent through pipes into the town.