Experience the Past ♦ Enrich the Present ♦ Embrace the Future
Experience the Past
In 1861, John and Mary Gardner homesteaded a large tract of land for their ranch. Around 1877, they sold seven acres of the tract to Lawrence Gilman.
Mr. Gilman purchased the Kent House in Genoa. In 1895 he moved the house to Gardnerville. The Kent House became the Gardnerville Hotel and Gardnerville was born.
After observing the activity of the growing community of Gardnerville, the Harris family also decided to move their dry goods business from Genoa to Gardnerville in 1895. In the spring of 1896, Arendt Jensen erected a commercial building for his General Merchandise Store on Main Street. And they just kept coming – a butcher shop, a shoe store, a barber shop and more saloons to what had now become a thriving town and center of activity in the Carson Valley.
German, Danish, Swiss, Chinese and British immigrants were prominent figures in the town’s growth and popularity. Then in 1898, the Spanish and French Basque shepherds immigrated into the area, tending some 13,000 sheep in Carson Valley, increased to 25,000 by 1925. In 1918, several Basque restaurants and inns were opened. Basque dining has continued to play a prominent role in Gardnerville.
Gardnerville began as a way station along a busy wagon road filled with miners on their way to Bodie, California over 125 years ago.
In the late 1800’s through the entrepreneurship of Danish, Swiss, Chinese, German and Basque immigrants, Gardnerville became a thriving town. They built their homes, raised their families, opened mercantile stores, butcher shops, hotels, saloons, and auto garages. Over the years, the dirt road was transformed into U.S. Highway 395 to Southern California. While the town has changed, its Western spirit and flavor remained
Enrich the Present
Today, you can still see and feel Gardnerville’s cultural heritage.
Take a stroll through the Main Street Gardnerville and read the plaques posted on various buildings throughout the district for a sense of the historical flavor of the district. Visit our shops – antiques, gifts, and clothing. Enjoy a great meal – from a full-course Basque dining experience to a gourmet sandwich. You’ll find it all on Main Street Gardnerville.
You will notice the presence of our Basque and western history in all the new shops, businesses and buildings in our Main Street district. Our town takes pride in how we appear to visitors so from our springtime hanging baskets and potted planters to our year round commemorative benches and our historical Basque mural we are proud of our heritage and want to invite you in to be a part of it all.
Annual fundraisers to help raise funds for revitalization projects include our annual events such as Wine Walks, Freedom 5K Fun Run and our Coffin Races. Our Heritage Park Gardens host many learning programs for those wanting to learn more about gardening, and even offer rental plots if you want to grow your own vegetables and do not have the space. We also participate in such hometown favorite events such as Carson Valley Days, Farmers Market, Shop Small Saturday, and Carson Valley Christmas.
Embrace the Future
Gardnerville may have began as a way station along a busy wagon road, but we are striving to make Main Street Gardnerville a destination! With improvements to buildings, businesses and roads. we hope the future of Gardnerville will provide a pedestrian friendly town that weary travelers will look forward to exploring all our dining, retail, historical and outdoors. From our trail heads to our downtown, from the country roads to the foothills, we hope to leave everyone wanting more of Main Street Gardnerville. We are committed to continuing the traditions of our past as well as creating new traditions.
Main Street Gardnerville invites you to come again and enjoy the old with the new – Experience the Past, Enrich the Present, Embrace the Future!