Christmas at the Dangberg Home Ranch
Toys, games, cards and an exquisite china dinner service depict 100 years of Christmas in Minden at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park.
Generations of Carson Valley's prominent Dangberg family celebrated Christmas in the house. A modern artificial tree decorated mostly with vintage items sits in the same location where the Dangbergs placed their holiday trees. In the next room, a colored light wheel illuminates the aluminum tree family members received for free when they bought an RCA-Whirlpool color television in 1973.
The Dangberg family dates to the 1850s, when German-born H.F. Dangberg built a log cabin on this site. Directed by H.F. Dangberg Jr. the family established the town of Minden in 1905, and the Dangberg Land and Livestock Co. at one time controlled 48,000 acres.
Visitors can see the Dangberg house in all its holiday finery from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, December 4, through Sunday, December 6. In the living room are a handmade 1910 dollhouse, dolls and doll clothing belonging to Margaret, Ruth, Fritzi and Katrina Dangberg. Family stockings hang from the mantle and a pianist performs seasonal music on an elegant 1916 grand piano.
Among the toys displayed are bisque ceramic Kewpie dolls first introduced in 1909 in Ladies Home Journal. Milton Bradley's first board game was the Checkered Game of Life, which children loved to play circa 1870-1880. The company reissued the game in the 1960s as the Game of Life, says Park Interpreter Mark Jensen.
The Dangberg children were treated to all the latest toys at Christmas, such as Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys and the granddaddy of them all, the Erecter Set. These toys, in pristine condition, date from the 1930s. There are a small wood-burning cook stove, a child's drop front desk and a miniature teacart, as well as puzzles, books, paint sets and coloring books produced from 1900 to 1945. Toys tucked away in a trunk — the possessions of Dwight Dangberg, who died in 1904 of scarlet fever — have been unpacked and displayed for the first time in more than a century.
The oak dining table is set for Christmas dinner with a Limoges-Haviland dinner service and silverware monogrammed with the letter G. The silver was found tarnished and carefully polished by a park volunteer, Jensen says. Also arranged on the table are Christmas greetings, among them a card sent from Governor Grant Sawyer to Mrs. Dangberg in 1964.
Many volunteers helped to mount the exhibit, which was debuted last year and will be an annual event at the park, according to Jensen. Admission is $3 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Guests should wear warm clothing.
The park is located at 1450 State Route 88, one-half mile south of the Carson Valley Swim Center. A map and other information about the park can be found at parks.nv.gov/hr.htm or by calling 775-783-9417. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6ThCznZzg4 to see a video of last year's exhibit.
Christmas at the Dangberg Home
December 4 to 6
Noon to 4 p.m.
Admission, $3 for adults, children under 12, free
1450 Highway 88, Minden