Crown Point Trestle

Dennis Cassinelli’s Chronicles of the Comstock today has the story of The fabulous Crown Point Trestle. The Crown Point Trestle was a large wooden trestle that carried the V&T Railroad over a ravine in Gold Hill. It was built in 1869 as part of the first phase of the railroad, and was the highest and longest trestle on the whole line. The story goes that connecting trains from San Francisco refused to let their passenger cars cross the trestle, so passengers would have to disembark in lower Gold Hill and take a wagon the rest of the way into Virginia City. It was this way until George Pullman himself, the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, visited the Comstock and proclaimed the trestle worthy of carrying his cars.

In the end it was not calamity that brought the Crown Point Trestle down, it was mining. Renewed mining activity in the 1930s led to the Crown Point Ravine being filled in, so the trestle was dismantled, the ravine filled, and new tracks laid right on the dirt in 1936. Those same tracks were pulled up just a couple of years later, though, as the line from Carson to Virginia was abandoned in 1938. It wouldn’t be until the 1990s when iron rail would once again touch this ground, this time coming down from Virginia City as part of Bob Gray’s revival railroad. When the line was extended to Gold Hill in 1991, the end of the line was right at the edge of the old Crown Point Ravine. And that remained the end of the line until 2005, when the modern reconstruction effort was started, and the rails once again headed south from Gold Hill. The groundbreaking ceremony that was held in April of that year took place on top of the filled in ravine, and now tracks once again cross the ravine, although the trestle did not make a comeback.

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