our History

Keith Cornforth and unidentified man

Growth Of A Frontier Settlement

Founded in 1857 by rancher H.F. Dangberg, Minden grew from a frontier settlement into one of the Old West’s first true towns over the course of just a few decades. By 1909, the area had expanded to the point that it needed a bank, and the original Farmers Bank of Minden opened.

The original Farmers Bank Building

The Second Farmers Bank

As the town expanded, so did its financial needs. By 1916 the bank had grown to the point it needed more space, so construction on a new building began. This new building, designed by F.J. DeLongchamps, one of Nevada’s famous architects, featured a neoclassical style that helped set Minden apart from being a “wild west” town.

The Old Fire Lookout

The building once served as a fire lookout. In 1930 The Record–Courier wrote:

Not all forest fire lookouts are at the top of high mountains, it was learned this week. From the center of Carson Valley a commanding view of surrounding mountains is afforded. With offices on the upper floor of the Farmers Bank Building, one of the office force goes to the roof of the building at stated intervals four times each day. With powerful field glasses the entire range of the mountains surrounding Carson Valley is scanned for smoke or the first signs of forest fire.

Building Ownership

By 1968 the bank had outgrown its space again, and a decision was made to build a new facility nearby. The vacant building was purchased by attorney George Abbott in 1969, and was bought again in 1992 by Donald E. Bently. Since then it has been an important part of the Bently Enterprises assets.

From Prohibition to Distillery

It so happens that the new bank building’s doors opened on December 16, 1918, the very same day Nevada’s Prohibition Law went into effect. It’s a happy coincidence that now, in 2016, this building serves as the headquarters of the company creating one of the state’s first estate whiskey distilleries. Along with its restoration, this building has truly come full circle.