Comstock & Vegas Win Grants For Historic Preservation

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The state has received nearly $350,000 in federal grants for historic preservation projects in Las Vegas and Virginia City.

The federal government is awarding $250,000 for the historic Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse building, and $97,000 for an exhibit of artifacts uncovered in Virginia City saloon site excavations.

"I believe they each represent significant steps in preserving Nevada's history and promoting our state's cultural heritage," said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who helped secure the grants.

The Las Vegas building, which is listed on the state and national Register of Historic Places, opened in 1933 and is notable for its Renaissance Revival style of architecture.

The city of Las Vegas obtained the building in 2002 and plans to operate it as a cultural center. The grant allows for installation of exhibit-related equipment.

"This initiative will complete core tasks that will make it possible to transform the building into an important institution," Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said.

The grant also goes toward an exhibit featuring artifacts from archaelogical digs at four saloon sites in Virginia City, a historic mining town 25 miles southeast of Reno.

The excavations over the last decade have uncovered more than 300,000 bits of broken glass and pottery, rusted metal and animal bone fragments - the nation's best collection of saloon-related artifacts.

"The saloon is a great American icon that has shaped our view of the West," said Ron James, state historic preservation officer. "This exhibit will use artifacts to contrast Hollywood stereotypes with reality."

Included in the exhibit will be the world's oldest known Tabasco sauce bottle, uncovered in a dig at the Boston Saloon, a black establishment.