The tiny Town of Virginia City, with a population of only 130, is the State's oldest incorporated community and among the best preserved gold mining towns in the West. It provides an exceptional sample of commercial architecture of the mid-19th century, and the surrounding landscape has been disturbed very little since the mining era ended in 1942.
One of Virginia City's slogans is, "People Say We're Old Fashioned. We Hope So." The entire town has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and to help ensure the preservation of its historic resources, the State of Montana purchased a large part of Virginia City in 1997, placing it in the care of the Montana Heritage Commission.
Virginia City is one of Montana's most popular heritage tourism destinations. More than 70,000 visitors come annually, generating $2 million in local revenue. Most visitors come during the summer, but the community is working to extend its commitment to heritage tourism to other seasons.
For the past five years, the community has sponsored the Virginia City Christmas Socials and Market, a month-long celebration of concerts, feasts, and festivities with a 19th-century Christmas theme.
Virginia City is also important as an educational resource. Each summer, middle school and high school students from throughout the State participate in a week-long Virginia City History Camp sponsored by the Montana Heritage Commission and the Montana Historical Society.
Virginia City has been designated a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service. The community has a preservation ordinance administered by the Virginia City Historic Preservation Advisory Committee.
Designated a Preserve America Community in March 2004.