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State Parks Administrator to discuss Dangberg at commission

Linda Hiller

County commissioners will be treated to a slide show with a glimpse into Carson Valley’s past and perhaps a peek into its future at tomorrow’s commission meeting in Minden.

Wayne Perock, Nevada State Parks administrator, plans to present what he is calling a “Dangberg Home Ranch Slide Show,” designed to bring to visual life the potential of acquiring the 33.7-acre estate in rural Minden.

“I can’t express how important Dangberg is to the state of Nevada,” he said as he looked over snapshots from a 1988 visit to the ranch by state park personnel. “There is nothing else like it in the entire state and we can’t afford to let it slip between our fingers because once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The Dangberg Home Ranch is located southwest of the Carson Valley Swim Center off Highway 88 and listed in the National Register of Historic Houses. It has been the subject of much controversy for at least the past decade.

After the death of Katrina Glide over two years ago, the last Dangberg relative to live on the property, Douglas County, the state of Nevada, previous owners and now current owners, Dangberg Holdings Limited, have debated the ranch’s fate.

After commissioners voted last March to relinquish the county’s claim to the ranch for a payment of $50,000 and more than 130 designated items, many thought the battle was over. That is when the state of Nevada stepped up to the plate to claim what Perock says is rightfully theirs because the Dangbergs wanted it so.

The county has said it can’t afford to operate the ranch.

“This ranch was supposed to be a gift to either the county or the state,” he said. “I also think it was the sisters’ intention to give the tax advantage to whoever bought the property and donated the ranch.

“Since the county has indicated that they are no longer interested in the home ranch, we are definitely pursuing it. This is a treasure, not only for the people of the Carson Valley, but for all the people of the state.”

Perock’s interest in the Dangberg Home Ranch began in 1979 when he visited the ranch and spent four hours with Katrina Glide as she proudly led him around the property, showing him how things were done “in the old days” on a Carson Valley ranch.

“That day, Mrs Glide talked to me about her desire to see a park there, at the home ranch,” he said. “She showed me toys she and her sisters had played with, and much of the original furniture and appliances were still there. It was an amazing place.”

In 1974, Perock became the first ranger at a similar historic ranch outside of Las Vegas, the Spring Mountain Ranch.

Pictures of how this southern Nevada property has been successfully turned into a historical museum, a center for outdoor plays and concerts in addition to a working cattle ranch, will be a part of Thursday’s slide presentation.

“It can be done. It has been done before,” he said. “and now that we have some experience under our belts, we could probably do it faster and better this time.”

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park includes 528 acres adjacent to Red Rock Canyon west of Las Vegas. When the property was acquired as a state park, urban Las Vegas was far away. Now, due to the rapid urban sprawl, housing developments are moving slowly toward the sanctuary, and keeping it historical seems all the more urgent.

“We don’t want to be short-sighted about places like the Dangberg Home Ranch,” Perock said. “We are hoping to at least have the opportunity to show the commission what can be done, to offer a vision. Everyone can benefit from preserving this site. For future generations who will want to look back and see what it was like to live back then, it would be a fine legacy to leave to a community.”

There is no reason that the Dangberg property can’t include a working cattle business, just like at Spring Mountain Ranch, Perock said.

“We could have a museum with different pioneer ranching families and their stories, not just the Dangbergs,” he said. “Given the roots of the families who currently have possession of the ranch, wouldn’t it be a great legacy for them to leave?”

One of the home ranch’s most ardent champions, former Douglas County Commissioner Mike Fischer, said he is prepared to work to form a 5013C foundation to seek private grants to help restore and preserve the ranch.

“The legal process isn’t over yet – we realize that – but if we were to get the ranch, there are people willing to go ahead and work on the grants,” he said.

Perock cited several other historical sites – Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello; the Hermitage in Tennessee – that were preserved by private foundations.

The Spring Mountain Ranch also uses many volunteers. Docents who lead tours and staff the ranch house are never in short supply.

“Everybody has talents in some area,” he said, adding that some people might be good at fund-raising, others could make period clothes, someone could restore the old tricycles that Katrina Glide showed him back in 1979, and maybe other antiques would find their way onto the site.

“Places like this become a magnet for old things like tractors and antiques,” he said. The site could be used for school field trips, concerts, quilt shows – the possibilities are endless, he said.

“We definitely will need community support,” he said, “but we are hopeful that once people can see what we can do out there, they will get bitten by the bug, too.”

Perock said that as a working historical ranch, the centrally-located Dangberg Home Ranch could easily become a tourist attraction for Douglas County.

Perock said this is the first time in his 27 years in Nevada parks, that he recalls having to fight for a property.

“Usually they are willing sellers or donors,” he said, adding that a few years ago Carson Valley’s Van Sickle family donated over 600 acres of land behind the casinos at South Lake Tahoe to the state parks system.

Thursday’s presentation will be at approximately 3 p.m. in the county commission meeting room of the old courthouse, 1616 8th Street in Minden.

“This slide show is strictly informational,” he said, adding that pictures are an invaluable tool to bring something to life.

Perock said either he or other Nevada state park personnel will bring the Dangberg Home Ranch slide show to any groups who might be interested in learning more about it, as well as preserving history in Nevada. He can be reached at 687-4370.