McCone's Foundries

Storey County
(Formerly Lyon County)
  39.29923, -119.65462

"There is no excuse why #185 should be missing. I'd like someone to explain this to me: why is a section of PUBLIC state-owned highway labeled as PRIVATELY owned? Even the NDOT official didn't understand. Clearly whoever "owns" the McCone's turnout really needs to an evaluation. At least we have found this marker for all to see. I just wish all MIAs turned up this way." -- Journal Entry, May 2008

Original Directions (as stated by the SHPO):"Marker located along SR 342 in Silver City."
New Directions: Along SR 342 in front of the Virginia City NDOT Maintenance Station, 1/2 mile south of Virginia City

Original Date Visited: 5/30/08

Signed: No

The Conquering of Marker 185

Sometimes it just takes a little diversion to find what you seek. In 2008, we took the very rough Jumbo Grade west out of Virginia City to do a little rockhounding and within seconds spotted the backsides of three old markers leaning up in the maintenance yard atop Ophir Grade! It turns out we'd found none other than [185] - a marker that had been MIA for almost a decade. And clearly, there had to be a reason why this marker had been displaced almost five miles from its original location.

We stopped all fun that day for a religious investigation and received a nice chunk of information from the NDOT official in the yard who permitted us to see the markers. Apparently, the turnout where [185] was placed under "PRIVATE PROPERTY" and NDOT was ordered by the SHPO to remove it to prevent further conflict. It has since never been replaced. We were told as long as that turnout is privately owned there were no plans in the works to get it back up. Strangely even he was confused as to why that turnout was a privately-owned parcel of land considering that the highway itself is state-owned! (All turnouts along state highways are supposed to belong to the state.) To help confirm our findings fellow marker hunter (Air Force) Dave S, was conducting his own investigation and contacted me for help. He sent this picture that he took in 2002, a rare photo of the marker's better days ...

(NDOT) were "just waiting for the forces at be" to give them the okay to re-locate [185] somewhere else.

UPDATE! (September 2015)
We're convinced that our actions that day shedded some much needed light on this case. Let's fast forward nearly fifteen years and the SHPO has since replaced this long-lost marker ... at the very same spot we found it no less! In 2015, [185] was among thirty re-vamped markers in celebration of "Battle Born, 150th: A State Sesquicentennial" (as evident by the campaign's logo on the plaque). If may have taken twenty years, but representation of a rather forgotten piece of the Comstock can finally be seen just above Greiner's Bend on the Comstock Highway. It's view of wrought-iron fencing and an NDOT station may be a bit intrusive, but we invite you to visit, stand, then stare beyond the marker toward the hills in the background and reflect what has been preserved. Sometimes we can make a difference.

  • Marker 185 has earned its rest
  • Marker 185 plaque
  • Marker 185 and NDOT station right behind it ... the very same spot we discovered it years ago!

Exact Description:
Messers, Mead, McCone and Tascar first established a foundry in this area in 1862 at Johntown two miles southeast of here in Gold Canyon. After two years they moved their operation to this point and erected a large granite building. John McCone became the sole proprietor in 1866.

A fire on May 15, 1872, left nothing standing but the walls.

McCone then bought the Fulton Foundry in Virginia City and made it the largest in the state; 110 men were employed at its peak.

All the early castings of the Virginia and Truckee Railway were manufactured at Fulton's.

The largest casting (in its time) poured on the Pacific Coast was made at Fulton's on December 11, 1880.

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