Peak Back: Alice Elda Hellwinkel Haase
March is Women’s History Month, a time we proudly look back with appreciation to honor the women that shaped Carson Valley into the destination that it is now. With help from the Douglas County Historical Society and their Van Sickle Research Library, we are happy to bring you their stories. From nurses to pioneers, Carson Valley has been home to many influential women and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
This peak back in time features Alice Elda Hellwinkel Haase.
“Alice was born in 1914 to Augusta and Johann Hellwinkel, on the family farm near Centerville in Carson Valley. She was very creative, even as a young girl, making some of her own clothes and creating doll furniture out of boxes and fabric for her younger sister. Like many young girls of that time, however, Alice had to work hard. She helped her mother with work at home, and she worked on the Settlemeyer ranch to earn money for school clothes.
When she was only 16, she left school to help take care of the family when her mother fell and broke her hip. She never went back because she felt she was so far behind the other students.
Life was not all work, however. When Alice was only 14 she met Henry Haase at one of the German community family gatherings. She made up her mind that one day she would marry this handsome young man. At the age of 19, she and Henry went to Carson City in a borrowed horse drawn sleigh to be married.
He took her to his sister’s ranch where they worked for room and board until summer, and then they moved to Hope Valley to work the saw mill that Henry Manke had bought from John Hellwinkel. The following winter, after their daughter Irene was born, they stayed at Uncle Chris Hellwinkel’s place. He had been killed in a car accident. They left Uncle Chris’s when Henry went to work as a foreman on the Mack ranch. They had three children, Edwin, Kathryn and Debbie. Then they moved in with Alice’s uncle, Fritz Hellwinkel, and eventually purchased the ranch. They moved around a lot, but never far from family and friends.
Her daughters inherited her love for family, her creative mind, and her work ethic, for which we are all grateful, for they continue to contribute these talents to the Carson Valley.”
If you would like to learn more about Alice Elda Hellwinkel Haase and the rich history of Carson Valley, stop by the Museum and Cultural Center at 1477 Highway 395 in Gardnerville from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday thru Friday (excluding holidays).