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Dangberg Home Ranch State Park Sets Nevada Days Exhibit

Fred Dangberg Jr.'s five children, their clothing, toys and personal effects are the stars of the show at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park in Minden during the park's annual Nevada Day exhibit. Gertude Dangberg’s 1898 wedding dress and and a photo of her graduation from UNR in 1896 are displayed with Dangberg family embroidered handkerchiefs, silver dresser sets and Victorian furniture.Joyce Hollister photo.

The prosperous Carson Valley rancher married Gertrude, a California girl, and lived in and expanded the house that his father built in the mid-1800s. The couple had four daughters, Margaret, Fritzi, Katrina, and Ruth, and one son, Dwight, who died in childhood.

Although the exhibit's focus is on Fred Jr.'s offspring, historic clothing for three generations of the family are represented, including Gertrude's exquisite white silk wedding dress from1898 and her carefully preserved high school graduation gown, displayed with of a photo of her wearing it. There's also a photo of her University of Nevada graduation in 1896.

Ruth Dangberg is pictured in the christening dress worn by her father, Fred Dangberg Jr., in 1866, and by her brother and three sisters when they were babies. Photos of the children in the dress and the dress itself are exhibited.Nevada State Parks photo.The women's casual and formal wear date from the 1920s through the 1960s. Fred Jr.'s grandson, C. Stephen (Steve) Achard, recently donated the highlight of the exhibit, the christening dress worn in 1866 by Fred Dangberg Jr. and later by all five of his children. Photos with the children wearing the dress are displayed nearby.

Steve Achard, son of the late Ruth Dangberg Achard, donated several outfits, toys, and other items he had as a child.Joyce Hollister photo.New donations to the park from Steve Achard include several of his childhood outfits from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as a lovely beaded party dress that belonged to his mother, Ruth Achard.

Men's and women's hats, accessories and shoes from throughout the 20th century are in the exhibit. Fred Jr.'s tuxedo hangs in the office. In a bedroom, the steamer trunk that Fritzi Dangberg traveled with is open for inspection. Fritzi died of cancer in 1946. Her trunk, packed with her formal gowns, hats, shoes, traveling clothes and souvenirs, was put away, to be opened by museum staff decades later.

Katrina's mid-century chunky silver and turquoise jewelry contrasts with delicate gold pins set with opals from an earlier era. Visitors see the elegant dress that Margaret wore to a party and the jeans and jean jacket that she changed into so she could feed the turkeys after returning to the ranch.

Park interpreter Mark Jensen speaks with a visitor at the Dangberg Home Ranch State Historic Park.Joyce Hollister photo.A small hallway exhibit offers examples of intricate lace. Sewing machines dating to different periods, a sewing table with needles, silver-handled darning eggs and wooden spools of thread attest to the importance of home sewing to early-20th century women.

One of the fabulous toys that Fred and Gertrude Dangberg gave their daughters is a fully functional miniature black iron cookstove with chimney, ash drawer and removable stove lids. Park interpreter Mark Jensen said there are tales of the girls actually using the stove as they played outdoors.

Volunteers perform on the 1916 8-foot grand piano in the living room during the exhibit, held October 29 to 31 and November 6 and 7. The park is open noon to 4 p.m. at a cost of $3 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park will be the site of a special event, Home Ranch for the Holidays, December 3-5, with vintage and modern seasonal decorations, vintage toys from the 1870s, 1910s and 1930s, and family letters and photos that will take visitors back to Christmases past. Volunteers will help set up and explain the exhibits and make Christmas cookies for refreshments.

For event details, call Mark Jensen at 775-783-9417 or dangbergranch@parks.nv.gov, or visit Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park for more park information.

  • Posted by Joyce Hollister on October 31st, 2010