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Elko County

AKA: Walther's Ranch; Sherman Station

Walther's Ranch was originally located in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains on the east side of the Huntington Valley. In 1995, the XJ Ranch donated the home and outbuildings to the Elko Chamber of Commerce. In 1997, the buildings were moved into Elko. The massive two-story log home still serves as the Chamber of Commerce office today. I have been to the location of the original ranch in Huntington Valley. Otherwise, I may not have felt good about doing a write-up on this site.

The founder of the ranch was a German immigrant named Valentine Walther. He was born in 1842. He arrived in America in 1859. He spent several years in New York before moving to St. Louis. From there, Walther ended up in Nevada. He resided in Eureka and White Pine counties where he worked in the area mines. The first article that I found regarding his time in Nevada was a wedding announcement in the Elko Independent on November 23, 1870. He married Sophie Roder in Elko. Prior to 1873, Walther and a man named Joseph Schneider had established a partnership in a Diamond Valley ranch. By the Spring of 1873, that partnership was dissolved under bad terms. Sometime around 1876, he finally settled in Huntington Valley where he established a ranching operation. Walther also raised horses, as well as fruit/vegetable crops such as raspberries, grapes, apricots, cherries, apples, asparagus and potatoes. On June 20, 1895, the Walther family met with a tragic accident. Valentine and Sophie were traveling by wagon to visit friends in the valley. Valentine stopped to open a gate. After getting down from the wagon, it was said that a snapping tree branch frightened the team. They ran approximately a quarter mile when the wagon tongue hit the ground, causing the wagon to flip. Sophie was thrown from the wagon. Valentine found her badly injured and insensible. He left Sophie to return home and retrieve another wagon. Doctor McDowell was immediately called for and arrived on Friday the 21st. Dr. McDowell did everything he could for her, but she passed away at about 9PM that evening. Valentine was left alone to raise his surviving 11 children. Sophie was 51 years of age and a native of Germany. Her funeral took place at the Presbyterian Church in Elko on Sunday the 23rd. She is buried in the Elko Cemetery. By 1900, a substantial feud had developed between Valentine and another Huntington Valley rancher named Antone Sestanovich (see the Sestanovich Ranch page). In September of 1900, Walther was taken before the Justice of the Peace in Elko where he was charged with arson. The accusation was that he had set fire to Sestanovich's hay. Sestanovich also had trouble with other area ranchers during the same period of time. The impressive ranch house (that is still utilized by the Chamber of Commerce in Elko) was finally completed in 1903. In 1903, the post office was also opened at Walther's under the name of Sherman (named for Sherman Creek). Walther's ranch was eventually taken over by his children. Walther died on August 30, 1933. He was 91 years of age. Walther had 12 children. At the time of his death, he also had 38 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. He appears to have been very well liked. One Elko newspaper article from 1910 claimed that he had 118 guests from many surrounding valleys who attended his 68th birthday party. Over the years, the ranch was said to serve as a stage station and a community center. Those freighting through the area were welcome to stop in, feed livestock and spend the night. He was buried in the Elko cemetery next to Sophie where their gravestone still stands today... Several owners have lived at the Walther Ranch since. This would include the Mitchell family from 1963 to 1974. You may recognize the name "Waddie" Mitchell who was 15 when he moved to this ranch with his family. Mitchell is a famous working buckaroo and cowboy poet. He has appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (four times), Larry King Live and several others. He helped create the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko in 1984. He also helped create the Working Ranch Cowboys Association in 1994. The WRCA puts on world class ranch rodeo events.

Post Office: February 28, 1903 to June 15, 1915 (according to Nevada Post Offices by Gamett and Paher). The Elko Independent first spoke about the establishment of this post office on August 8, 1903.

If you want to see the old buildings, simply drive down Idaho (main) Street in Elko. If you want to see where the buildings originally stood, that will require a long drive through the Huntington Valley, almost to the White Pine County line. From there, you'll have to drive up into the Rubies. The area is a private ranch today, so you'll have to look from a small distance unless you have permission.

Sources: Nevada Post Offices (By: Gamett and Paher); Elko Independent (Newspaper); Eureka Sentinel (Newspaper); Reno Gazette (Newspaper); E Clampus Vitus, Lucinda Jane Saunders Chapter 1881 (Historical Marker); Old Heart of Nevada- Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Elko County (By: Shawn Hall);; Elko Chamber of Commerce; Findagrave.

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