Lake Tahoe Stories and Tips

Tallac Historic Site

Heller Estate Photo, Lake Tahoe, California

Located on 74 acres of the south shore of Lake Tahoe is the Tallac Historic Site. This historic location was the summer playground carved out of the Lake Tahoe wilderness by early California bankers and entrepreneurs. First built in 1880, it was a resort created by "Lucky" Baldwin and consisted of two hotels, a casino, and other outbuildings. It was dismantled by his daughter in 1916 and all that remains are the concrete ruins of this once impressive enterprise. However, still standing and available to explore are three other sites, which give one a glimpse into the Lake Tahoe of the past.

The Baldwin Estate was built in 1921 by Anita Baldwin as a summer home for her family. Today it contains artifacts of Washoe Indian culture, photos of the previously mentioned casino and hotels, and displays illustrating the influence the Baldwin family had in the history of California. The Pope Estate was built in 1894 and became known as the "Vatican Lodge" due to the last name of owner who purchased the estate from the original builder in 1923. Several adjacent cottages contained maids' and workers' quarters and laundry and children's play areas. The grounds and surrounding outbuildings are open to the public, and tours are available during the summer.

The third member of the estate trio is the Heller Estate, more commonly known as Valhalla. It was built in 1923 and borders Camp Richardson. The nonprofit Tahoe Tallac Association holds many different events here throughout the year. This entire location lies in a forest of pines and is a lovely place to picnic and spend a couple of hours or more. Walking or bicycling on the pathways, which connect each of the buildings, is an easy and enjoyable way to explore the site.

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