Mackay Mansion

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The living have spectral company: A former lady of the house, a young
victim of disease, a military man and a super conscientious female spirit.


mackay-paranormalThe Mackay Mansion is a lovely three story Victorian mansion, which has bedrooms on the second floor, a hand-carved staircase which leads down to the living room, kitchen, parlor, and old business office.

As the mansion was built on a slope, the ground floor opens onto the side yard. According to the online virtual tour, much of the original furniture and ornate contributions made by Hearst and John Mackay are still located in the mansion.

Tom and I recently visited Virginia City, and looked up once again this stately mansion, that we had taken a tour of on our last visit, some years ago. It seems to no longer be a museum, as we spied a “For Rent” sign that had been on the building. They have rented out some of the rooms in the mansion. There was no sign advertising tours for the public, and all the historical talking points about the home, could be found on big boards found on the front, wrap-around porch.

The bottom floor, former carriage house that leads out to the garden area was being renovated. The mansion did look like it needed some TLC. Being 150 years old, this mansion like all old structures needs continuous upkeep, and often must be put to work to pay for it.

Throughout the ’90s and the years that have followed, The Mackay Mansion has been a favorite wedding and event venue. There was a 1998 wedding business web site that said that there were tours are offered for folks looking for a wedding or reception venue, and a sign up form.

Another web site, as of 2004, lets the reader know that weddings, receptions, and events were still being booked, as well as rent out some of the bedrooms at times. Johnny Depp stayed here when he was in a film, DEAD MAN.

I assume that wedding and receptions still take place here, though they don’t advertise it as much as other places in the area.




The Mackay Mansion was built in 1859 by a young mine superintendent George Hearst, to be both his residence and the location of a mining office. George Hearst made his fortune here in the mines, with just a 400 dollar investment in the rich Comstock mines. After making several million dollars, Hearst took the money, left Virginia City and made other investments in California, South Dakota, and Utah, securing a huge fortune.

The second owner was Irish-born, John Mackay, who came to Virginia City, and started at the bottom as a miner, but he had skills that elevated him up the latter. He used his training, learned in his youth, to construct mine shafts, and was paid in mine stock. In the 1870s, he was a rich and powerful man, and owned the former Hearst Mansion, now known as the Mackay Mansion. His partner, Mr. James Fair, also had a bedroom at the mansion.

The owners that have followed in the steps of these early owners have done their best to keep Mackay Mansion up and running. It has never been abandoned, like many other mansions. Current owners are in the process of repairing and fixing up this mansion, following in the steps of past owners, which must please the resident spirits.



Many children from all walks of life died in frontier mining towns because of disease which swept through towns, or from the usual dumb kid accidents.

Past owners/residents of mansions have been known to hang around their earthly home, because they loved it so while they were living.

Sometimes entities go about their chores, even when they are dead, because of a sense of duty, or because they loved their job so much, they still want to continue, not letting death stop them.



A little girl dressed in white

This entity has appeared to many staying in the bedrooms. When Johnny Depp stayed in one of the upstairs bedrooms, she came to see him in his room.

Another female apparition

Who takes it easy, floating around and “lingering” in favorite spots on the second floor. Perhaps she is a former lady of the house.

A former Colonel

Who in his last years alive, chose to sit in the kitchen, as his favorite way to pass the time. Long after his death, he still is content to sit in the kitchen, and his presence can be felt by psychic people.

A focused, conscientious woman

Maybe a servant, who keeps herself busy, making never-ending trips up and down the staircase, trying to finish the chores on what must be an awesome To-Do List.


Appears to be. Many eye-witness have had experiences with these friendly entities.



129 South D Street
Virginia City, NV 89440
(775) 847-0336

Mackay Mansion can be found in the southern part of town on D Street, near Polossi Street; once the suburbs of the well-to-do.

If you are coming from the southern direction of town on HWY 342, that turns into C Street, turn right on 341, go about a block, and turn left onto D St. If you go too far, you will come to Hickey Street.




Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Virginia City Haunts in Nevada