Minden couple visits Mindens across the U.S.
After traveling across the country about a dozen times, Terri and Chuck Luettgerodt of Minden wanted to find a new twist for their next road trip — so they scoured maps of the U.S. and Canada and found every Minden they could.
The Luettgerodts found Mindens in Nebraska, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Ontario, and they recently completed a six-week trip in their 1997 Volkswagen van that took them to all of the towns.
“My husband’s a map person,” Terri said. “We just looked them up on that and figured out a route … We like driving. We like road trips. We like to take the small roads rather than the interstates.”
Loaded into their van, which features a fridge, stove and sink and 197,000 miles, they headed toward their first Minden, located in south-central Nebraska. Just like Minden, Nev., Minden, Neb. serves as the county seat and was named after Minden, Germany.
They next headed to Iowa, then to Louisiana, where they met the mayor and visited the town’s gazebo. A woman in town told them they’d missed Minden, Texas, so they headed back the way they’d come.
However, “The only thing we found in Minden, Texas, was this post office,” Terri said, pointing to a picture of a small, white building. “That was pretty much it. It was just a wide spot in the road.”
Their last Minden was the township of Minden Hills, Ontario, located north of New York.
Terri said while the people were friendly in Nebraska and she liked the old buildings in Louisiana, she prefers her hometown.
“I like the setting of ours a lot better,” she said. “You’ve got the farmland, the mountains — just beautiful. Most of them (the other Mindens) are just flat.”
The Luettgerodts made a few friends along the way as well. At Daylight Donuts in Nebraska, the owner had Minden-themed hats hanging on a wall, so they gave him a Town of Minden hat. The shop owner had heard of some of the other Mindens but had never visited them, so Teri swapped email addresses with him and is sending him photos.
When asked if they’ve ever thought of trying to visit other Gardnervilles, Terri paused.
“I’ve never, never seen another Gardnerville,” she said. “I never even thought about it.”