Photos of César Lopez
The historic preservation group working on the restoration of the Sutro Tunnel in Dayton opened the 28-acre mine site to the public for tours on Sunday. The Friends of the Sutro Tunnel used the event as a fundraiser and an opportunity to show the public the restorations that have already taken place.
“The Friends of Sutro Tunnel have worked tirelessly over the past few years to launch a coordinated effort to breathe new life into the Sutro Tunnel site,” said Site Director Chris Pattison. “Due to the limits imposed by the pandemic, progress has not gone as quickly as we would have liked. However, as things started to open up, we felt it was a great time to invite the audience to the site to see and experience it firsthand. We also wanted to share our story with the goal of inspiring those interested in donating and supporting our cause. “
The Sutro Tunnel is considered an important part of Nevada’s mining history, having been built to drain water from the mines of Virginia City. Construction of the 3.8 mile long tunnel began on October 19, 1869, with nine miners working three shifts around the clock to dig the tunnel. They were able to dig about 300 feet per month using hydraulics, but the work was not completed until September 1, 1878.
The project was led by Prussian Jewish mining contractor Adolph Sutro, who sunk between $ 2 million and $ 3.5 million in construction costs but never saw the profit he expected. He sold it for just $ 1 million.
The construction of the tunnel was expensive at the time. Preservation work is also expensive, Pattison said. The site is also great. In addition to the tunnel entrance, it includes a shed, warehouse, loading dock, mule barn and machine shop. The Friends of the Sutro Tunnel are working not only to preserve the remaining buildings and equipment, but also to make the site safe and accessible to visitors, including by adding interpretive panels.
Signage is already on the way. The Jewish American Society of Historic Preservation this month donated signage slated for installation in early 2022 that showcases Sutro’s Jewish heritage.
For more information on the Sutro Tunnel and preservation efforts, visit https://thesurotunnel.org/.
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