A tour of the idyllic Mackay Mansion Museum in Virginia City takes visitors back more than a century. Originally built in 1859 by George Hearst, the three-story building served as the former residence of Comstock tycoon John Mackay. Today, it is listed as a National Historic Landmark and open for tours and even weddings year-round.
A tour of the Mackay Mansion takes visitors through the large reception area known as the Grand Parlor, into the vestibule and up the staircase, through John Mackay’s bedroom, into children’s bedrooms and playroom, past the bathroom and into the kitchen and dining room and onto the grounds. Original furnishings and accessories are evident throughout the mansion and include the Grand Parlor’s maroon upholstered parlor set, circa 1868, gold-plated chandelier, mirror backed by crushed diamonds and framed in 24-carat golf leaf, and carved heads on the chair arms that commemorated the opening of the Suez Canal. The staircase is also of note, constructed as it was in the manner of Italian hanging staircases - a single piece of timber from the first floor to the third and cantilevered into the walls. In John Mackay’s bedroom, visitors will find the original chandelier, 12-piece wash basin set and furniture dating back to the 1860s. The playroom features a doll collection with dolls from the 1850s to the early 1900s, and a rocking horse from the Civil War era. The vintage bathroom is a sight to see, filled with original fixtures, bathtub and wallpaper. With its gravity flow running water system, it was considered Virginia City’s first “working bathroom.” Even the grounds feature original pieces, including a large weathered clothesline and various outbuildings.
With its beautifully preserved relics and century-old ambiance, a tour of the historically-significant Mackay Mansion offers an outstandinglook into Nevada’s past.