Lawrence Gilman, a settler in Genoa, founded Gardnerville in 1879, when he purchased land in the southern Carson Valley. He moved a house from Genoa and opened it as the Gardnerville Hotel. The construction of a road connecting the mining town of Bodie, California, and Carson City enabled Gardnerville to serve as a stage stop and agricultural center for surrounding mining communities. The town also became home to a few distinct and closely knit ethnic groups. In the 1880s a number of Danish immigrants settled in the area. At the turn of the century, Basque sheep ranchers moved to the valley; their architectural legacy is seen in Gardnerville's two Basque restaurants. Like Minden, Gardnerville has many brick buildings, reflecting a local preference for this material and local wealth. Uncontrolled development to the south in the 1980s and 1990s has changed Gardnerville, like its neighbor, Minden, from an agricultural community to a sprawling bedroom suburb of Carson City and Reno. Nevertheless, many historic buildings, including a number of old hotels, can be found along Main Street (U.S. 395).
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