A Final Resolution For Old JCB Plaques…

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus

A Final Resolution For Old JCB Plaques…

Over the years the brothers of JCB have plaque’d numerous historical places. Unfortunately, some of these locations have been hit with natural disasters (fire, weather damage, etc) or been torn down because of modern updates to roads or buildings. And in at least one case, there was a plaque that was made and never actually put up, for obscure reasons.

In most cases the Chapter has been able to recover the original plaques and ended up with a rag-tag collection of old and new plaques that were being displayed/stored in the Moran Building, the official JCB Chapter Hall.

A few years ago, as these plaques started to pile up in the Hall, several brothers decided that the plaques really needed to be dealt with. Of course, this created all kinds of “back and forth” about who should do what, and things kept being delayed as discussions continued to occur at the bar in the Hall. 

Eventuality, a few brothers, volunteered to take ownership of getting the plaques back out in the wild so folks could enjoy them as originally intended. 

The plaques in question are the following; 

  • Yellow Jacket
  • American City
  • Jumbo (West Comstock)
  • Big Bonanza
  • Nevada Brewery

The first plaque to be dealt with was a relatively new one that hadn’t been put up originally…The Yellow Jacket Mine Fire. This plaque memorializes the Yellow Jacket Mine fire of 1869 that took the lives of at least 35 miners. A location was identified and permissions to mount were obtained. The plaque is mounted to the front of the Gold Hill Hotel and Crown Point Restaurant. The building is owned by Comstock Inc, formerly Comstock Mining Inc, who generously allowed the plaque to be located there. 

The second and third to be remounted were the American City and Jumbo (West Comstock) plaques. These are old plaques that had been impacted by natural disaster and/or modern updates to their old locations. Again, a location was identified and permissions sought and obtained. It was decided (by a committee of three) to use a MPS (a ridiculous acronym for “multiple plaque site” made up by this writer to sound more impressive) for both plaques. One plaque looks towards the Jumbo Grade area and the other plaque looks towards the old American City area. Both plaques are on property owned by Comstock Inc, who also provided very impressive boulders that the plaques are mounted on. The relocation and remounting of these two plaques also received support from Storey County via grant money provided to support local community and historical efforts. 

The forth plaque to be relocated was the Nevada Brewery plaque, which memorializes the first known brewery in Virginia City, and for obvious reasons is of particular importance to the brothers of JCB. The location of the old brewery is now private property but the owner of the house on the property graciously allowed the placement of the plaque on a retaining wall on the front of their property located on the current 6-Mile Canyon road.

The final plaque to be addressed was the Big Bonanza plaque which memorializes the Consolidated Virginia and California mines, collectively known as the Big Bonanza. These mines were one of the largest single deposits of gold and silver ever discovered in the USA. The location of this plaque is on the property of the current Silverland Inn and Suites in Virginia City. Comstock Inc again supplied a beautiful bolder for the plaque and additional grant money from Storey County helped defer the costs of moving and setting the bolder, as well as other expenses.

This writer would like to expressly thank the following brothers who were instrumental in getting this work done: Bob Thomasson, John Herrington, Pat Logan, Cliff McCain (XNGH, JCB), Michael Mack (current Clamps Petrix, JCB). 

In addition, we had generous support from Comstock Inc, and from Storey County, both of whom have our gratitude for their constant support. 

I conclude this by simply saying, SATISFACTORY!

Respectfully submitted by Gary “Dusty” Mack (GNR, JCB)

ADDENDUM: There are 4 additional plaques that were not mentioned above. The Salvation Army plaque, created along with Snowshoe Thompson Chapter 1827, was all but a rumor. Evidence to its existence consisted of a rubbing on paper.

Construction of the Eldorado garage in downtown Reno displaced this plaque, and Bob Thomasson tracked it down and saw to it that it was remounted at N. Sierra Street near W. 3rd Street.

The McCarran Ranch plaque was also sitting around the Hall for some time. Jeff Johnson got it placed at the McCarran preserve, which is on private property.

The last three known orphaned plaques are “Alfred Doten” from 6011 (2006 CE), “Flumes in the Sierra Mountains” from 6017 (2012 CE), and “Fanny Gore Halzell – The Span of a Lifetime” from 6023 (2018 CE). The first plaque was going to be placed on a building in Silver City, but owners could not be contacted. The current plan is to raise a monument in Hillside Cemetery in Reno where Doten was interred with his wife, Mary, before they were moved to Masonic Cemetery. Mary S. Doten was a notable person in her own right, and language for an additional plaque to include her story has been composed for this monument. The “Flumes” plaque, which was meant to be installed near Mt. Rose Ski Resort, has not been found and may not have ever been made. Discussions are ongoing as to whether this will be reconstructed. The “Fanny” plaque was made but a suitable location not determined. There were conversations ongoing with the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, but these have not resulted in closure.

Respectfully, Matthew “Metric” Ebert, XNGH