If you’re interested in Tahoe history, you’ve come to the right place, though if you stumbled onto it by accident, it’s a wonder you got here. These days, a Google search for ‘Lake Tahoe history’ yields roughly 1,680,000 hits, and for the same three words Yahoo brings up over 13 million. If you visit the top 10 sites, you will discover that there is woefully little historical ‘meat’ to be found on any of these sites, most of which belong to realtors, timeshare promoters and chambers of commerce.
One reason for the Ethernet’s dearth of historical substance is that although four non-profits within the Lake Tahoe Basin have as their self-proclaimed mission the preservation of our local history, there is no paid employee among them whose mission it is to illuminate that history for the benefit of all. Thus while the buzz word “Tahoe” is celebrated on the tongues of the world, the details of its lovely yesterdays are slipping away uncelebrated for lack of five-digit funding.
I find this a tragedy. I study Tahoe history every day, but until recently did not understand how I could use the Internet to pass along the highlights of what I have learned to those who share my interest. Recently I returned to online communication, and after having a look around the Ethernet, I’ve decided to publish a sort of electronic fishwrapper through which I can bring to light some of the fascinating information I’ve ferreted out in search of Tahoe’s history. One caution: my publication is not suitable for wrapping fish, so if you are a fisherman, you’ll have to print out a hard copy (this will only work for very small pan fish) or make other arrangements. Be forewarned also: This is no Personal Journal on Speakerphone, nor is it a Social Club. There will be no magnetic-swipe member cards, no Saturday Afternoon No-Host Bars, no Wine Walks, no Annual $100-a-Plate lunches, and no newsletter Snapshot of You & Your Two Dearest Friends at the last BBQ, assuring your perpetual notoriety. You will find no flyer tucked under your wiper when you come out of the grocery store. No salesman will call. This site intends to be a resource for the preservation of Tahoe history, and nothing but.
I got hooked on Tahoe history sitting with my grandmother on the porch of the family cabin and listening to her stories of Tahoe summers of the 1920s, when she and a neighbor lady would spend most of the school vacation camped in a tent on a bluff above the lakeshore, from which vantage point they could watch their children playing on the waterfront below. The ladies did their cooking outdoors on a wood stove, scrubbed the laundry on a washboard in the lake shallows and happily awaited the periodic visits of their husbands, who commuted to the Lake as they could spare time away from work. How I envied them!
The chief aim of my new ethermag is to provide as many people as possible with the thrill of sitting on that porch and experiencing that intangible connection with the past. Since my grandmother died, I have sat on five-score porches listening, and have recorded the stories of more than 100 Tahoephiles who knew Tahoe before I was born. And since Bud Scott introduced me to the history of the wide Lake itself in 1957, I have squinted at the type of untold documents and studied the pages of many a moldy newspaper in search of information about Tahoe’s past.
The basic structure of my website/blog will include at least six regular departments in which I will explore the little-known history of things Tahoe. I plan to offer four changes of content in each department each year. At least one department will, by its nature, require a weekly updating, and some posts on random subjects will appear unannounced. In the future, when I get the technology, I’d like to add some oral history recordings and old movie footage, too. Subscribers will have access to an Archive of past posts. I’ll also provide a forum where readers can leave their own comments and questions, and I enthusiastically welcome contributions from those with personal knowledge of Tahoe history subjects, whether a few lines or a guest article.
Of course you’ll want to see a sample of my product before you commit ten hard-earned dollars to it. To accomplish this, I’ll allow free unlimited access to blog.TahoeHistory.INFO in its entirety until I feel that I have demonstrated by both the volume and quality of my posts that the reader is getting his or her money’s worth. Until then, you’ll be free to kick the white sidewalls as much as you please. However, this site will soon be linked to a secure method of payment, and at some point after that, anyone who would like to continue to have access to frequently-updated content will be asked to tender a sawbuck* for a year’s subscription. Meanwhile, unless you’d like to purchase some of my Tahoe history books, which I plan to make available on this site soon, I promise I won’t ask you for another dime. For now, I hope that you will accept my invitation to visit the site and see if a subscription might be an edifying and delightful way to spend $10.
My web addresses are
TahoeHistory.INFO and blog.TahoeHistory.INFO are for-profit Lake Tahoe history resources operating online for the benefit of those interested in Lake Tahoe history.
Neither entity has a Board of Directors, nor an endowment program.
Charter (first year) subscribers of blog.Tahoe History.INFO will be given special consideration in future offers.
*If you’re under 18 and unsure what a sawbuck is (or white sidewalls, for that matter), you can visit my blogsite anytime you want for free.
Just write and tell me your name and age and if you’ve ever been to Tahoe, what did you like best about it?
I know that some of you unscrupulous adults will try to pass for 17, download my photos and sell them on eBay, but remember: Santa is Watching! Besides, they’re in dismally low resolution, so why bother?
F.Y.I.: My Grandfather, Claire T. Van Etten, took that lovely picture of the Steamer passing Rubicon Bay about 1922.