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Kevin J Bochynski <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 9 Dec 1998 12:06:10 -0500
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The following is posted on behalf of Tom Muzzio of the Territorial


contact: David Delacroix
November 28, 1998


     Virginia City, Nevada - The oldest publication in Nevada and one of the
few surviving newspapers of the "Old West" anticipates the new century by
inaugurating its website on December first, exactly one hundred forty years
to the day after its first issue came off the hand operated press in 1858.

    Site of the richest silver strike in history, Virginia City has been
famous not only for the legendary Comstock Lode, but for the numerous well
known personalities who have lived at its 6200 ft. heights over the years.
The most notorious of all is the former editor of the TERRITORIAL
ENTERPRISE, Samuel Langhorn Clemens, who began using his universally known
pen name, MARK TWAIN, during his tenure on the paper between 1862 and 1864.

    As the primary source of mining information during the American Civil
War, the paper was regularly sent with dispatch to the office of President
ABRAHAM LINCOLN who promoted Nevada's statehood in 1864 in order to tap the
resources of the Comstock silver mines on behalf of the Union war effort.
But the big bonanza on the Comstock took place in the 1880s. The extent of
the silver deposits had never been realized until technology caught up, and
modern machinery facilitated the excavation of more silver than ever before
in human history. The wealth of the Comstock mines found its way in part to
fund the growth of San Francisco.

    During the first half of this century, the ENTERPRISE shared the fate of
Virginia City, and declined in importance until it was purchased in 1954 by
New York writer and bon-vivant, LUCIUS BEEBE, who built the publication to a
national level with his wit and eccentricity. Following the advice offered
to Twain by the first ENTERPRISE publisher, "Never let the truth stand in
the way of a good story,"  Beebe re-introduced great writing to the

    The 1950s saw not only the revival of the TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE, but of
the town as well, hosting the long-running NBC television series, BONANZA
which was filmed in and around Virginia City and Lake Tahoe.

    The current owner and publisher (since 1984), Tom Muzzio, a Twain
enthusiast, plans to continue publishing "in the spirit of MARK TWAIN."
According to Muzzio, "Ever since the likes of Mark Twain and Dan DeQuille
sat around the wood stove at night, spinning yarns while the snow piled up
around the Comstock, people have enjoyed the kind of journalism and humor
they created. We have every intention of keeping it that way!"