Old Tahoe elegance returns to Sugar Pine Point on Living History Day
The elegance of summering at the lakefront in the high style of Old Lake Tahoe returns to Sugar Pine Point State Park on Living History Day, Saturday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tour the famed Pine Lodge as volunteers in period costumes act the roles of the Hellman-Ehrman family, the family’s butler, the upstairs maid and the cook.
Family activities include nature walks through the estate’s 2,000 acres and two miles of beach, music, games, displays of antique cars and famous wooden boats. Parking is $6 per car. Tours are usually priced at $5 for adults and $3 for juniors.
Pine Lodge, also known as the Ehrman mansion, is a three-story, shingled home built in 1903 by Isaias Hellman, a pioneering California banker, and is located 10 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89.
For more than 60 years the Hellmans, and later their daughter Florence Hellman Ehrman, entertained family members and friends in the summertime. Esther Lazard, daughter of Florence Ehrman and granddaughter of Isaias Hellman, sold the property to the state of California in 1965.
“This is our 12th Living History Day,” said Ranger Heidi Doyle of the California Parks Department. “Already it is one of the largest summer events in the Tahoe Basin.” The Sierra State Parks Foundation sponsors a variety of educational and historical exhibits.
Elders of the Washoe tribe, whose ancestors were the original residents of the Tahoe Basin, will relate their people’s history. Visitors may take guided nature hikes through the Z’berg Natural Preserve to the “highest lighthouse in the world” or along the Washoe Path of the Water Babies.
For younger visitors, Living History Day will offer a Kid’s Zone, with story telling, period dress up and the opportunity to create pictures of the lodge to take home as souvenirs.
Three prominent local artists will demonstrate their talents throughout the day. Bill Clausen, of Homewood, has created many watercolor paintings of Sugar Pine Point; Cathy McClelland, of Kings Beach, works mostly in acrylics, many portraying bears and other wildlife of the lakeshore; Andy Skaff, of Tahoma, specializes in works of the plein air genre, such as landscapes.
Living History Day gives visitors their only opportunity of the year to go inside General Phipps’s Cabin. Frontiersman William Phipps came to Tahoe in 1860 to homestead 160 acres that eventually became part of Sugar Pine Point State Park. Guides playing Phipps’s friends will tell stories of pioneer life as they demonstrate use of their tools and black-powder rifles.
Visitors will want to bring swimwear and towels to take advantage of the estate’s beach. A bathhouse is available for changing clothes. Those who would like to picnic on the vast lawn overlooking the lake can bring their own lunch or, buy hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecued chicken and soft drinks.
Further information contact Ranger Heidi Doyle at the California State Parks Sierra District office 525-9528, or visit http://www.laketahoelivinghistory.com.