Chautauqua Of Governor John Sparks Aug. 23 At Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park

Courtesy of Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park · 3 min read

MINDEN, Nev.- Michael E. Fischer will portray the tenth governor of Nevada, John Sparks, at Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park on Wednesday, August 23, at 6:30 p.m.

John Sparks was born in Mississippi on August 30, 1843. Sparks’ education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. Before moving to Nevada, he worked in the cattle industry in Texas and Wyoming. John Sparks first entered politics as the Silver-Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Sparks then went on to win the general election in 1902. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1904, but was reelected to a second term as governor in 1906. During his tenure, a state railroad commission was organized; the Nevada state police was formed; the public school system was restructured; irrigation laws were sanctioned; and a miners’ eight-hour workday bill was authorized. Also, a state engineer office was established; and the town of Sparks was named for him in 1904.

Michael Fischer as Gov. Sparks.

Governor Sparks will tell of his days as an Indian fighter with the Texas Frontier Rangers and a trail driver of cattle after the Civil War. The Governor will also share stories of his relationships with H.F. Dangberg, Sr., serving as pallbearer at his burial, and with Fred Dangberg, Jr. who served as Senator under Governor Sparks during his first term in office.

This event is sponsored by Soaring NV, Douglas County, Bently Ranch, Dr. James the Dentist, NV Energy, Ridge Tahoe Resort, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, Carson Valley Inn, Carson Valley Times, Carson Valley Accounting, Horsetales Magazine, Allied Sanitation and the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation. This event is also made possible with the assistance of Nevada Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The cost is $5 for adults, free for members and for 16 years and younger.

Michael E. Fischer was raised and educated in Reno public schools, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada Reno and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Southern California.

After working in private practice for 31 years, Fischer retired from dentistry and was appointed Director of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, serving in both Governor Gibbons’ and Governor Sandoval’s Cabinet until the department was formally disbanded. He is now an independent scholar whose interests include the history of Nevada cowboys and ranching, politics, bootlegging, gambling, and crime.

“Michael E. Fischer is an excellent historian and talented Chautauquan. Once you meet ‘Governor Sparks’ you will feel automatically transported back in time,” said the park’s events manager, Kim Harris.

The park is located at 1450 Hwy 88, ¼ mile north of the Carson Valley Veterinary Hospital. This is an outdoor event, and visitors should bring their own seating. Dogs are not permitted at this event. For more information, visit The park’s full 2017 event schedule is available at the park’s website.

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