%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads

John Mackay

John W. Mackay (1831-1902) was one of the success stories in Nevada mining.  He had emigrated to California from Ireland and mined in the gold rush, but did not make much money.  He came to the Comstock, however, in the 1859 "Rush to Washoe" and had better luck.

John Mackay worked hard at mining and was also successful with his investments.  He went into business with three other Virginia City miners, James Fair, James Flood, and William O'Brien.  The men were known as the "Bonanza Firm."  In 1873 they hit the Big Bonanza, a mine which made huge amounts of money.  Some of his fortune was donated by his family to the University of Nevada, and helped to build Mackay School of Mines on the Reno campus.  The statue of John Mackay in front of the School of Mines has become a campus landmark.

Photo Credit:
Nevada Historical Society