Sutro was a town, a tunnel, and a man. The well-planned community was headquarters for the Sutro Drainage Tunnel.
German-born Adolph Sutro came to the Comstock in 1860. He advocated a drainage tunnel, visualizing development of Comstock ore with this access. By 1865, his vision gained approval of state and federal legislation. However, the mining interests, having at first supported the tunnel, became strongly opposed.
When construction began in 1869, it was first financed by the mine workers since the tunnel would presumably improve mine safety. Later, the funding came from international bankers. Miners completed the main tunnel in 1878 and then extended lateral excavations, providing drainage, ventilation and access to many Comstock mines. The work on the tunnel from its lower end created a town of 600-800 and boasted of a church, post office and its own weekly newspaper, plus Sutro’s Victorian mansion and other fine residences. Adolph Sutro soon sold his interest in the tunnel company and returned to San Francisco, where he served as mayor.
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JULIA C. BULETTE CHAPTER E. CLAMPUS VITUS