Vikings in Tahoe?

National Register of Historic Places listings ...


Lake Tahoe is amazing on all fronts and in every season. While skiing in the winter is a favorite sport in our family, summers in Tahoe can be just as breath-taking as any downhill run. Yup, I’m kinda like Tahoe. It’s one of those “Why don’t I live here?” type of places. Then I remember – oh yeah, the snow…. can’t imagine plowing my driveway every morning.

But I’m liking the summer, the lake, the dogs running in and out of the water, my friends who are enjoying it as much as me. Lake Tahoe is a wonder and there are plenty of places to explore.

One particular cove in Lake Tahoe is Emerald Bay. It’s easy to see how it got its name. (My friend Alastair has his beautiful telephoto camera so I won’t post my iPhone shots. I’ll wait and show you his later).

There is a rock house that sits on the shore in Emerald Bay  called Vikingsholm. Built in 1929 by Mrs. Lara J. Knight, Vikingsholm was a meeting spot of the rich and famous during the summer months.

Mrs. Knight would arrive in early June and stay until mid-September. She would bring with her a staff of 15 including a secretary and personal chef. Visitors came and went throughout the summer and Mrs. Knight was a perfect host – not only providing daily entertainment such as horseback riding and boat trips, but she would also wash and gas each guest’s vehicle before they left.

The little island sitting inside Emerald Bay is where Mrs. Knight would serve afternoon tea to her guests on the stone gazebo she had built.

Two things to note here: Mrs. Knight was married and widowed twice. Her first husband had controlling interest in several big companies at the time including Union Pacific Railroad. Her only child died when he was 25. She built Vikingsholm for her summer pleasure and wintered in Santa Barbara. This all smack dab in the middle of  The Depression!

Mrs. Knight was not of Norwegian descent but she loved the Scandinavian architecture and art. She lived until the age of 82. Her island and beloved Vikingsholm was eventually gifted to the state of California.

Mrs. Knight sure knew how to party and knew a good location means everything.


One Response to “Vikings in Tahoe?”

  1. susan Says:

    I loved this and want to go and get my car washed and gassed up before I leave after tea.

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