Skip to main content
Community Foundation of Northern Nevada Logo

Kendall, Bob, 4th Ward School Endowment

Preserving his memories while preserving the Historic Virginia City 4th Ward School.


Bob Kendall, born in 1923 and raised on the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, is a second generation Nevadan, both of whose parents had roots in the Nevada mining camps going back to the late 1800’s.

Bob’s father, Zeb Kendall, a day’s pay miner in 1900, came to Tonopah with $30 in his pocket and in 90 days made a fortune from the proceeds of a lease from Jim Butler, the original discoverer of the camp. He went on to become a prominent mine owner and promoter and participated in all the early 20th century mining booms in central Nevada. He served as state senator of Nye County from 1909-1916. In 1920 he acquired control of the old Big Bonanza Consolidated Virginia mine in Virginia City, and remained its president until his death in 1954. His mother, Belle, was raised in the Nevada mining camps of Cherry Creek, Hamilton, Eureka, and Belmont, moved to Tonopah at the age of 16 and married Zeb in 1906.

Bob’s fondest memories are of growing up on the Comstock Lode in the1930’s and 40’s when Virginia City was a nothing but a small mining camp struggling to stay alive before the tourists came. Life then for a young boy was simple but full of wonderful things to do: prowling the deserted mine shafts and tunnels by candle light, hiking the hills and shooting jack rabbits and rattlesnakes with their 22 rifles, sleigh riding down Six Mile canyon in the winter, and going to school at the wonderful Fourth Ward School.

Bob started first grade at the Fourth Ward School in 1928 and graduated from the eighth grade in 1936, the year it closed as a school forever. He served in the army in World War II and in 1948, graduated from the Mackay School of Mines at the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in Mining Engineering. In 1987 he retired from a successful career in mining in California and Colorado. He returned to Nevada in 2003 and currently lives in Sparks, where he has resumed his life as a Nevadan after an absence of fifty years.

Bob is a member of the Executive Advisory Board of the Mackay School of Mineral Sciences and Engineering, works as a volunteer at the school’s Keck Museum, and is active in fund raising for the benefit of the school. His primary interest, however, is the Fourth Ward School in Virginia City. He is proud to be able to help in the restoration and preservation of this most unique and important monument which in the past played such an important role in the life of the town, and which in the present and future will serve as a great community asset, meeting place, museum, and reminder of the Comstock’s great historical