History of Gardnerville
In 1879, Lawrence Gilman purchased the Kent House, which was located just south of Genoa which was supposedly haunted by a stagecoach-robbing ghost. After acquiring a seven-acre tract of land from homesteader John M. Gardner, Gilman moved the house to the new site.
The Kent House became the Gardnerville Hotel - and the town of Gardnerville, named for Gardner, was born. Although the old hotel is no longer standing, the spirit lives on; we don't know about the ghost.
From Feed to Farming
Because of its location along the route to the Esmeralda Mining District and Bodie (where a major gold strike in 1878 heralded a mining boom), Gardnerville soon came to serve as a feed stop for the 24-horse freight teams traveling between Carson City and the mining camps.
For the first five years of its existence, the new settlement of Gardnerville changed little. By 1885, the fledgling town had begun to grow along with the farming industry in the valley.The town prospered as more hotels, shops and saloons opened their doors along Main Street. By 1899 Gardnerville had become a center of commerce in the Carson Valley as well as a hub of community activity in the valley.
Danish settlers figured prominently in the new town's development. Just as many Mormon settlers of British origin called Genoa home after 1851 and German pioneers had a strong presence in the early years of nearby Minden, Gardnerville became the center for Danish immigrants who had arrived in 1870.
Beginning in 1898, the Spanish and French Basques played an important role in the town's history as sheepherders and later as inn and restaurant owners. In 1918, several Basques opened inns in Gardnerville that flourished during Prohibition. Basque dining in Gardnerville remains a culinary attraction.
Gardnerville continues to serve the needs of residents, ranchers, entrepreneurs and travelers. It is a community that is growing comfortably.
Old Town Days of Gardnerville