Barns a link to Valley’s agricultural past

The roughly 100-year-old barn at Comstock Seed south of Gardnerville.

The roughly 100-year-old barn at Comstock Seed south of Gardnerville.
Photo by Haley Estabrook.


The Historic Barns of Carson Valley Tour educated and brought the community together last weekend, while showing the importance of preservation of six barns and the surrounding land.

The Hellwinkel Barn, Horseshoe B Ranch Barn, Comstock Seed Barn, Fred Stodieck Barn, Elmer Stodick Barn and Henningsen Barn all opened their doors to the guests of the barn tour. This year’s barn tour sold out offering 120 tickets.

The self-guided tour was put on by the Douglas County Historical Society with around 20 volunteers led by member Guy Proto.

“The comments were very good,” Proto said. “Everyone really really enjoyed it. This was great. People missed not having it.”

The barns range from being built in the 1860s to 1920s. Most of the barns are no longer used for their ranching purpose. Now many of them are used for storage.

Guests on the tour could learn about these barns from the current owners and their families who stayed on their properties to answer questions and give tours.

“The barn tour was fabulous, not just meeting a lot of other people there, but to speak to the owners and hear the history of their barn and property,” said new members of the historical society Elisabeth Olesen and Marilyn Bollengier.

Owner of the Elmer Stodick Barn, Patti Graf, had saved this barn by restoring it after it was leaning. This barn was built originally in 1890 and is 85-feet long and 40-feet wide. Graf enjoyed having people come enjoy the barn that she worked to save.

“It lets people appreciate history of what we have here. I am trying to give people the idea that if they do have an old barn, restore it, and keep history here,” said Graf.

The barn tour concluded with an ice cream social at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center where barn enthusiasts could talk to others about the rich history that they got to experience. All ticketholders had access to see the entire museum along with a slideshow of barn pictures taken by the Carson Valley Photo Club. They also had access to the Genoa Courthouse Museum to learn more about history in the Carson Valley.


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