Skip to main content

Fourth Ward School

Fourth Ward School

On November 28, 1876, the excited residents of Virginia City christened their new monument to education, the Fourth Ward School. Built to honor the nation's centennial, the majestic four-story building could accommodate over 1000 students, and it boasted state-of-the-art heating, ventilation, and sanitation systems, as well as water piped to all floors. Architect C.M. Bennett may have drawn inspiration from popular 19th-century architectural pattern books for the design of the Second Empire structure with its distinctive Mansard roof. Projected to cost around $30,000, the completed project came in at $54,000 including land and furniture.

Permanent exhibits include the Fourth Ward School building, a historical overview of the Comstock, a newly renovated Comstock mining overview funded by the Commission of Mineral Resources , 1870's classroom, Virginia City Alumni photographs and memorabilia, and Mark Twain. Oral history programs are also available.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.