Century-old farms to be recognized

Longtime Nevada families and their stories, their histories, are being sought by the State Historic Preservation Office for a new award.

The Nevada Centennial Ranches & Farms awards will recognize families that have owned a ranch or farm in Nevada for 100 years or more, are ranching today on at least 160 acres, or have gross annual sales of $1,000.

They are a rare breed; probably only 25 to 50 Nevada families will qualify.

"We don't want to name any families," said Terri McBride of the Historic Preservation Office. "We don't want to put them under pressure. It is totally voluntary. They need to contact us; we're not going to be knocking on their door.

"We want to recognize the families who have contributed a real rich part of life in Nevada before they pull up their stakes and move on.

"Because of their role in history we felt we needed to do something to recognize them."

The preservation office is working with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Nevada Farm Bureau, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Nevada Cattlemen's Association to get the word out about the award.

"We are waiting for these families to submit their family histories," she said. "We look forward to being in closer contact with these families that have been so critical to our history."

To apply, farmers and ranchers can visit the preservation Web site at www.nvshpo.org and download a form, or contact McBride at the State Historic Preservation Office at (775) 684-3445. The application deadline is July 1, and awards will be presented on Aug. 28 at the Nevada State Fair in Reno.

"It will be an ongoing annual program with an annual awards ceremony, where recipients will receive a sign designating their farm or ranch as a Centennial Ranch or Farm," Mc Bride said.

A separate Historic Structures Award will go to Centennial Ranches & Farms that have four or more structures on the parcel that are more than 50 years old without major alterations.

"This program should be going on for a long time. So to the farms and ranches right on the brink - hang in there," McBride said.

"We realize that especially with the recent drought, they have experienced some real hard times. We're hoping this will be a real bright spot for them."

McBride said she came up with the idea in February and modeled the program after similar ones in Idaho and Oregon.

In Oregon, nearly 1,000 ranches and farms have signed up. The Oregon Historical Society created its program to honor families that have maintained a working farm continuously for 100 years or more. The program began for Oregon's Centennial of Statehood in 1959, and is known as the Century Farm Program.

The following are a few tidbits from this year's applicants I borrowed from the Oregon Department of Agriculture Web site:

n Peter Kristian Enbysk made enough money raising reindeer in Hammerfest, Norway, to emigrate to the United States in 1871. He heard there was good land in Oregon, and in 1877 settled in Adams in Northern Umatilla County to raise horses and mules and grow wheat and barley.

n Daniel Shaw left North Carolina in 1890 to settle near Pilot Rock. Although his efforts to grow popcorn and peanuts were unsuccessful, he managed to plant an orchard of 1,400 apple trees and raise hogs, alfalfa, cattle, sheep, horses and vegetables.

n In 1893, John Fredich Dworschak left his native Austria and acquired a 40-acre farm near Molalla. Also from Austria came John Kraxberger in 1892, to acquire 160 acres near Canby.

n Philip Kollas traveled from his native Germany to Australia then to Oregon to settle in the Hood River Valley near Odell in 1894, where he established an orchard still in operation.

n In 1893, William and Florence Benninger traveled from Michigan to establish a farm near Blachly in Lane County. That same year, Herman Steinhauer came from Germany and acquired 80 acres to farm, also near Blachly.

n Palmer Curtis traveled from Iowa and acquired 645 acres near Shedd, and Charles Andrews traveled up from California in 1892 and acquired 160 acres of prime wheat land in Sherman County.

n Nels and Hannah Youngberg left their native Sweden and settled near Carlton in 1889, where they obtained 40 acres.

n George Gutbrod and Jacob Grauer came to Oregon in 1893 via Germany and Iowa then established farms in the Sheridan area.

It will be great one day to see a similar list of Nevadans. I expect we'll see names like Settelmeyer, Hellwinkel and Ritchie among others.

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at kdufresne@nevadaappeal. com or at 881-1261.


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