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Welcome to Piper’s Opera House! There is so much going on at Piper’s and you are invited to check out the entire web site to see where we’ve come from, where we are going, and what’s currently happening at Piper’s Opera House! See our ABOUT page for hours of operation.
- ABOUT – See a brief overview of how Piper’s transitioned from her historical beginnings to her nonprofit status as a working museum; also included are days and hours of operation.
- HISTORY – Piper’s has a fascinating history, and the highlights are captured here for your enjoyment.
- CALENDAR – Whether you are expecting to attend an upcoming event at the opera house, or perhaps thinking of renting out this amazing venue to host your own private or public event, you’ll find what you need here.
- LINKS – See what else is happening around Virginia City.
- CONTACT US – We look forward to hearing feedback from you, and would be happy to discuss with you any needs regarding private or public events you might like to host at Piper’s Opera House.
Called the most significant vintage theater in the West, Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City deserves a standing ovation for its long-standing contributions to Nevada’s rich history and culture. It is impossible to understand the real spirit of Piper’s Opera House without also looking at the era and the community in which she thrived.
The current building structure, built in 1885, is the third opera house built by John Piper. John Piper was an extremely industrious gentleman with a highly developed entrepreneurial spirit. His involvement on the Comstock, which began in 1860, included ownership of numerous businesses such as the opera house, his famous Old Corner Bar (attached to the opera house), and highly successful participation in County and State Government. Around Virginia City, Piper was known as the “Old Manager,” a shrewd but honest businessman. (1)
Virginia City Historic District is a National Historic Landmark encompassing the former mining communities of Virginia City and Gold Hill, both in Storey County, as well as Dayton and Silver City, both to the south in adjacent Lyon County, Nevada, United States. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961, it is one of only six in the state of Nevada.
Virginia City was the prototype for future frontier mining boom towns, with its industrialization and urbanization. It owed its success to the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode. It is laid out in a grid pattern 1,500 feet below the top of Mount Davidson. Most of the buildings are two to three story brick buildings, with the first floors used for saloons and shops. It was the first silver rush town, and the first to intensely apply large-industrial mining methods.
After a year in existence, the boomtown had 42 saloons, 42 stores, 6 restaurants, 3 hotels, and 868 dwellings to house a town residency of 2,345. At its height in 1863, the town had 15,000 residents. From its creation in 1859 to 1875, there were five widespread fires. The 1875 fire, dubbed the Great Fire of 1875, caused $12,000,000 in damages.
Today, Virginia City continues to be a much sought-after destination, drawing over 2 million visitors per year. In this environment, Piper’s Opera House continues to thrive as a working museum, hosting daily tours of the theater during the summer season, and providing an extensive variety of events such as private weddings, concerts, dinner theater, political events, and fund raisers for various issues. And last but not least, Piper’s has contracted with Storey County School District to provide unlimited access to all Storey County students to host their dramatic events, graduations and dances; a wonderful cultural opportunity for both parties!
(1) Susan James “Shakespeare and Bear Fight,” Nevada Magazine May/June 2001