A tale of three cities
May 30, 2006
Minden was one of three railroad towns founded in Nevada during the first decade of the 20th Century.
The largest and most famous of the three is Las Vegas, which was officially founded May 15, 1905, when the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad auctioned off 1,200 lots in what is now downtown.
The second largest Nevada town is Sparks, founded when the Southern Pacific Railroad decided to straighten its line out of Wadsworth and moved its employees lock, stock and barrel to the new town.
We’re celebrating the centennial for the third Nevada town to be founded in those heady days, Minden.
The founding of Minden was both cursed and blessed. Its founder, H.F. Dangberg, Jr., surely would have preferred that the town grew like either Las Vegas or Sparks.
But looking back, it is a good thing it did not.
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The reasons for Minden’s far slower growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including the fact that while both Sparks and Las Vegas were crossroads, Minden was the end of the Virginia & Truckee line. The very thing that ensured Minden would be a town, also made certain it would grow slowly.
Today, as we look at the Carson Valley, we can be thankful for what must have vexed Dangberg, Jr. at the time.
He may not have known it , but he created one of Nevada’s special places.