Tahoe Maritime Museum breaks new ground
Since 1988 Tahoe had everything necessary for a world-class maritime museum ” historic wooden boats, exhibits on the lake’s rich, inland maritime history, and dedicated volunteers ” everything, that is, except for a suitable home.
That will change this year as the bare dirt where the museum’s previous home stood “-a dilapidated Homewood motel ” begins to take shape this summer as a $3.9 million two-story museum.
The new building is a dream that the museum’s organizers have had for years, but only officially kicked off last year with a quiet fundraising effort that has netted $2.35 million so far, said museum board president Tom Bredt.
“This is a tremendous show of support from the community,” Bredt said of the contributions from nearly 70 families.
After the building’s grand opening, scheduled for early next summer, the museum will begin building up its education programs, and have a home for its more than two dozen historic wooden boats and scores of vintage motors.
Currently, the museum’s boats sit in a Truckee warehouse nearly all year long, only occasionally being showcased in the limited space of the Homewood parking lot.
But museum officials see the new building less as a new boating history exhibit and more as a place for the Tahoe nautical community to congregate.
“We really want it to be a focal point where people can come and hang out … a gathering place for the community,” said Bredt.
Each year the museum hosts dozens of visits from schoolchildren and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club.
The group has taken care to design the building so it looks comfortable among the West Shore’s traditional architecture, said Barry Ludwig, a museum board member who helped design the building.
“It should be like a modern, old boathouse,” Ludwig said.
“It will be a pretty dramatic addition to the West Shore that people can be proud of,” he added.
Inside the building, boats will be placed both on the ground floor and hoisted to a second floor, said Ludwig.
The museum has had a vagabond existence since its 1988 founding, moving from Sugar Pine Point State Park to Homewood to a trailer in Homewood, which it will inhabit while the museum is built. Supporters are pleased to finally find a permanent home.
“Everybody thought we should do it, but we didn’t have anywhere to do it,” said Ludwig of the museum’s early history.
Next summer, when several of Tahoe’s historic wooden gems are rolled into the Tahoe Maritime Museum’s display room and the public walks through its new doors ” all the fundraising, design and construction work will be worth it, Ludwig said.
“That’s why we’re all going through this exercise ” to share those treasures,” he said.
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