Gardnerville resident Mike Fischer remembers seeing H.F. Dangberg Jr.’s daughter Ruth Achard feeding the ranch’s turkeys on cold, windy mornings wearing her mother’s coat.
“She had it tied with a rope and was out with the wind blowing her hair out to here, she made quite a picture,” the former Dangberg cowboy and state official said. “It really is a story of a life. They went from being rich to having $10 in the checking account. Ruth and Margaret were essentially raised by robber barons, but then they went to work for the state.”
On Sept. 21, the Friends of the Dangberg Home Ranch are hosting a fundraiser featuring a panel discussion featuring two former Nevada governors, Robert List and Richard Bryan, along with Fischer’s Chautauqua as Gov. John Sparks, who served in the state house 1903-1908.
Fischer said it won’t be the first time that Nevada’s elite, both political and business gathered at the home ranch to break bread.
“Lot’s of people have come here to visit, but not many have had a chance to sit and have dinner,” Fischer said.
The Dangberg Home Ranch isn’t just about the Dangbergs, Fischer said.
“It’s a homage to agriculture here in Douglas County, and the families who came here in the 1850s and 60s,” he said.
Like those pioneers, the Friends of the Dangberg Home Ranch have pretty much been on their own when it comes to supporting the ranch, after budget cuts forced the Nevada State Parks Division to withdraw from its management in 2011. Douglas County contributes to the utilities and grounds maintenance.
“There’s not a lot of government money that goes into it,” Fischer said of the park.
Bryan is a Democrat who served at the state level as a public defender, a state assemblyman senator and attorney general. He was Nevada’s governor from 1983-1989 and a U.S. senator for Nevada from 1989-2001.
List is a Republican who served as the district attorney of Carson City, then as attorney general for Nevada before becoming the state’s governor in 1979, serving until 1983.
Sparks was elected governor in 1902, lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1904 and was re-elected governor in 1906. The event will be emceed by longtime Nevada broadcaster Brent Boynton, news director at KNPB television.
Singer-songwriter Beans Sousa, the touring guitarist for Lacy J. Dalton, will perform. Guests will also see the park’s annual exhibition of historic clothing from the Dangberg collection.
The event will take place outdoors at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, 1450 Highway 88, in Minden. The cost is $85 per person. Reservations are required and can be made online at www.dangbergdinner.eventbrite.com, or interested persons can get more information by contacting park curator Mark Jensen at 783-9417.
The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park is the 2012 and 2013 Reno-Tahoe Territory winner of the Nevada Commission on Tourism’s “Discover Your Nevada” contest. The site preserves the home of Heinrich F. Dangberg and his descendants. The Dangbergs were a prominent ranching family in Carson Valley history and founded Minden in 1905.