The most spectacular calamity to befall Virginia City had its origins within fifty feet of this marker. Early on the morning of October 26, 1875, a coal oil lamp was knocked over in a nearby boarding house and burst into flames. Strong winds spread the blaze and thirty-three blocks of structures were leveled. The losses included St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church, the Storey County Courthouse, Piper’s Opera House, the International Hotel, city offices and most of Virginia City’s business district. The offices and hoisting works of nearby mines were also destroyed.
After the fire, Virginia City established a new hydrant system and erected a number of new hose houses including this structure.