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Scossa Ranch

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Early 20th c. Foothill Rd., approximately 3 miles south of the intersection of Foothill Rd. and NV 207
  • Scossa Ranch (Bret Morgan)
  • Scossa Ranch (© Bret Morgan)

Settled since 1859, the Scossa Ranch is one of many historic ranches in the Carson Valley. Wilson and Sophia Miller originally homesteaded the land. According to local legend, they were one of the first African American families in the valley, but no documentary evidence substantiates this. Although the 1860 U.S. Census documents ten African Americans in Carson Valley, the Millers do not appear in the records until the 1870 census. The Scossa brothers, immigrants from Switzerland, bought the ranch from Sophia Miller and her children in 1885 and raised beef cattle and a dairy herd. All buildings but the house date from the twentieth century. The complex consists of fourteen structures, five of which were built before 1921. The Scossa family continues to own the ranch and raise beef.

The large timber-frame barn (1908) is the most prominent building at the ranch as well as the most unusual. Although the broad gable roof and vertical siding on the walls are typical of barns, many of its first-floor doors have a parquet design terminating in a central diamond. This pattern appears to be of Swiss derivation and is unique in the valley. 

Recent research has identified the Scossa Barn as a transverse crib barn, a common type in the Carson Valley that was often built by German immigrants. .The two-and-one-half-story construction has a moderately steep, front-gabled roof that extends down to the first floor. The dominant characteristic is a central passageway that extends from the front gable to the rear of the barn along the "spine" of the building. Above this transverse corridor is a hay loft for storage of large quantities of winter feed.  


Bertolini, Jim, "Agriculture on the Carson River in Douglas and Ormsby/Carson Counties Barn Architecture in Carson and Eagle Valleys," Douglas County, Nevada. National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form, 2018. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.  Accessed May 8, 2020.  

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta
Updated By: 
Ann Gilkerson (2020)



  • 1885

    Scossa Ranch established
  • 1908

    Barn built

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Julie Nicoletta, "Scossa Ranch", [Gardnerville, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 116-116.

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