When Steve Achard visited the Dangberg Home Ranch in Minden on Friday to retrieve a few personal items, it was a bittersweet end to a 13-year battle.
Achard is the surviving son of one of the sisters who were deeded the historic H. F. Dangberg Home Ranch. He is the nephew of Katrina Glide, namesake of the Glide Estate and granddaughter of H.F. Dangberg, who settled the sprawling ranch west of Minden off State Route 88. The family founded Minden.
At issue was whether the Glide Estate had an agreement with Achard about additional personal property.
Achard and Douglas County settled the longtime dispute Thursday regarding items at the home.
"I guess no one is totally comfortable so it's got to be a good settlement," Achard said. Douglas County "was not totally happy, and neither are we."
The settlement pronounced by Judge James Hardesty in Washoe County is a new beginning for the home ranch.
As part of the settlement, Achard received about 50 personal items, including some with sentimental value, such as his mother's toys and family serving plates, books and photographs.
Douglas County retained more than 500 personal items, including furniture, American Indian baskets, jewelry, artwork and rugs.
"Mr. Achard donated a majority of the items he claimed as his for use in a (future) museum," Deborah Palmer, Achard's attorney, said.
"I am so excited. He gets sentimental items, and Douglas County gets a museum."
Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Robert Morris has been involved with the lawsuit since the mid-'90s. He said the settlement proves the strong commitment by the county and the state to make the home ranch a living-history museum.
The next step is transferring the property title from Park Cattle Co. to Douglas County. Morris said the county is still working out those details.
Brad Kosch, area regional manager for Nevada State Parks, will coordinate restoration and rehabilitation of the six-acre parcel, which includes many outbuildings. Morris said the county has contracted with an arborist to trim trees for the initial restoration.
George Taylor, deputy attorney general, represented the state in the case.
"We join in everyone's delight in having this finally done," he said. "We want to try and make history talk, to make the museum tell its stories through the ages."
The state and county will establish an interlocal agreement to form a master plan for the ranch.
Douglas County has until Dec. 31, 2006, to establish a museum through a quit-claim settlement with the Glide Estate, or the real and personal property must be returned to the estate.
The county plans to create a museum on the grounds open two days a week for nine months a year.
"The potential here is unlimited," Kosch said. "This just ties into Mormon Station Park (in Genoa).
"We want everyone here to help us learn the history and help document."
A plaque honoring Achard and his wife, Rita, for their donation will be placed at the ranch.
A 1978 decree between H.F. Dangberg's three granddaughters said the women could live their lives at the ranch, but it would become a living-history museum after they died.
The ranch has been sold several times. Dangberg attorneys said they weren't bound by the 1978 decision, which prompted Douglas County's lawsuit.