Louie A. Gardella Papers
Scope and Contents
The bulk of this collection focuses on the acquisition and control of water in the Truckee Meadows area of Nevada from 1950-1976. From a reading of Mr. Gardella's oral history we learn that his knowledge of water issues came from two sources: his childhood experiences on the Gardella family ranch and his practical experience gained over thirty-three years in agriculture as a county extension agent for three counties. The papers in this collection demonstrate how Mr. Gardella used his knowledge for the benefit of the community.
The largest single series in the collection is Series 2, "Vista Water Users Cooperative Association." Series 2 and Series 3, "Vista Water Users Cooperative Association/North Truckee and People's Drain Ditch," are a substantive group of records documenting how a small group of land owners were able to work collectively to improve their water situations. Both series include minutes, correspondence, reports, and maps which document their respective activities. When Series 4, "Reno/Sparks Ditches," is also examined, it is possible to explore the extent to which water ditches meandered through the community and shaped or were shaped by urban development.
This collection also provides documentation on groups in the 1960s and 1970s who desired an active role in determining the future of the Truckee River. Several preservation groups are represented: the Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District, the Truckee River Preservation Committee, and the Permanent Committee on Reef Removal and Truckee River Clearance Project. Series 7, "Water: Articles, etc" includes Gardella's testimony about Senator Pat McCarran's interest in the lower Truckee River and McCarran's efforts in the 1930s to finalize title to land and water rights for non-Indian occupants; water and lands which had formerly belonged to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Gardella discusses how the disputed land and water were utilized during his parents' occupancy in the first three decades of the twentieth century.
The last series in this collection contains a small number of materials about the related topics of soil and air quality preservation. These predominately take the form of reports issued by several governmental agencies.
- Gardella, Louie A., 1908- (Creator, Person)
Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
Louie A. Gardella was a Nevadan, an agricultural agent with the Nevada Agricultural Extension Service for several counties, and County Agricultural Agent for Washoe County where his attention focused on water development, drainage, flooding, and irrigation. Gardella was born on January 8, 1908 on his family's ranch six miles north of Wadsworth, Nevada (on the ranch now known as the S-S Ranch). He was educated in local schools and at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Gardella worked over thirty-three years as a county agricultural agent, first at Pioche, Lincoln County, then in Lyon and Washoe Counties. From 1972 to 1981 he was a real estate agent.
Gardella became Washoe County agent in 1954, retiring in 1968, the approximate period of time covered by this collection of papers. Gardella's expertise as an agent was in drainage, flood control, water management, water use, land leveling, new crop introduction, and livestock. In each of his county assignments he also worked closely with the 4-H Clubs. In addition to his vocational talents, Gardella was a skilled facilitator, able to bring together units as diverse as private land owners, city and county governments, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, in order to accomplish specific projects such as removal of the reefs in the Truckee River at Vista, and drainage of the swampy lands around the Reno Airport. He was a member of many organizations, including the Truckee River Development Committee, Permanent Committee on Reef Removal and Truckee River Clearance Project, and the Tahoe-Verdi Conservation District.
For a more complete biography of Gardella, consult his extensive published oral history completed in 1973: Just Passing Through: My Work in Nevada Agriculture, Agricultural Extension, and Western Water Resources. This book is available in the Special Collections Department and the Oral History Project office at the University of Nevada, Reno.
2.5 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)
Language of Materials
Louie A. Gardella was a Nevadan, an agricultural agent with the Nevada Agricultural Extension Service for several counties, and County Agricultural Agent for Washoe County where his attention focused on water development, drainage, flooding, and irrigation. The bulk of this collection focuses on the acquisition and control of water in the Truckee Meadows area of Nevada from 1950-1976.
Note: Arrangement of the collection follows Gardella's original filing system. In the case of the second series, his method was to maintain separate folders of minutes and correspondence. For the remaining series, Gardella intermingled minutes, correspondence, and reports but kept them in chronological order, so that a researcher should have no problem locating desired material.
The papers of Louie A. Gardella are arranged into the following series:
1. Book of Remembrance
2. Vista Water Users Cooperative Association
3. Vista Water Users Cooperative Association/North Truckee and People's Drain Ditch
4. Reno/Sparks Ditches
5. Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District
6. Truckee River Preservation Committee
7. Permanent Committee on Reef Removal and Truckee River Clearance Project
8. Washoe Project
9. Water: Articles, Reports, Miscellaneous
10. Tahoe-Verdi Conservation District
11. Soil and Air Quality
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of Louie A. Gardella were donated to the Special Collections Department in 1983 by Mr. Gardella.
- Carson River (Nev.)
- Gardella family
- Gardella, Louie A., 1908-
- Italian Americans -- Nevada
- McCarran, Pat, 1876-1954
- Minetto family
- North Truckee Drain Ditch Company (Nev.)
- People's Drain Ditch Company (Sparks, Nev.)
- Permanent Committee on Reef Removal and Truckee River Clearance Project
- Tahoe-Verdi Conservation District
- Truckee Meadows (Nev.)
- Truckee River (Calif. and Nev.)
- Truckee River Development Committee
- Truckee-Carson Irrigation District
- Truckee-Carson Soil Conservation District (Creator)
- United States. District Court (Nevada) (Creator)
- Vista Water Users' Cooperative Association
- Washoe Project, Nevada-California
- Water -- Nevada -- Reno
- Water -- Nevada -- Sparks
- Gardella, Louie A., 1908- (Creator, Person)
- Gardella, Louie A., 1908- (Donor, Person)
- Guide to the Louie A. Gardella Papers
- Susan Searcy
- September 1991
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA