Romey's Gardens / Bickford Place

Virginia City National Historic Landmark District

Swiss-born Lucien Romey came to Virginia City in 1863 not to mine but to follow his former occupation as a truck gardener. He raised vegetables, which he sold all along the gulch and, keeping them fresh with wet gunny sacks, trucked his produce as far as Butte—a three day trip. Romey built the central log core of this house circa 1864. Its subsequent additions and remodelings chronicle its long domestic use. Stephen E. Bickford, owner of the city water system, bought the property in 1894. Widowed in 1900, Sarah Gammon Bickford capably operated the company herself. Sarah, born into slavery in North Carolina, came to Virginia City in 1871. She soon married William Brown and the couple had three children. Within a decade, Sarah’s entire family had died. She later married Bickford and the couple had three children, to whom Sarah told poignant stories of her “other” family. Sarah Bickford carved a remarkable career for herself and served the community well until her death in 1931.



Virginia City, Montana ~ Private