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Tonight in Tahoe History – April 24

April 24, 2017 Today in Tahoe History


Lillian Vernon Farr Collection


Eighty-three years ago on this night, the old Tahoe Inn, Tahoe City’s most prominent landmark for nearly 40 years, burned to the ground.

The old Inn had evolved from the town’s first residence, built in 1864 by Bill Pomin, through modifications by later owners Robert Montgomery Watson and Wert Tong into a somewhat stately edifice with a wide veranda that had a claim on the attention of every traveler.

E.B. Scott, in his The Saga of Lake Tahoe, (v 1, p 47) devoted only one sentence to the calamity, and so the details in the following account supply most of what we know about the blaze that forever changed the Tahoe City skyline:

When the new day dawned, the remains of the old hostelry, the dancehall and the old Log Cabin saloon lay beneath a few inches of fresh snow.

The summer season was not far off. Could owner Carl Bechdolt rebuild his ruined Inn in time?

The answer to this question, plus the history of the Tahoe Inn and the remarks of three eyewitnesses to the fire, are included in my book Tahoe City’s First 100 Years, available by clicking on this link:


Today, the building that replaced the old Tahoe Inn is home to the Blue Agave Restaurant.

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