The living history of Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

The living history of Lake Tahoe

Jean Eick
Special to the Sun
Courtesy Jean EickEven in the heart of winter visitors have the opportunity to see the beautiful mahogany Gar Wood Boats.
ALL |

HOMEWOOD, Calif. and#8212; Before you even open the Tahoe Maritime Museum doors you feel history is waiting to be discovered. The sign hanging outside the building along Highway 89 in Homewood reads: Tahoe Maritime Museum, Living History. The next clue is the building itself and#8212; with unique windows and its and#8220;Old Tahoeand#8221; boathouse design.

Walk inside and immediately step back to another time at Lake Tahoe. A time when sleek mahogany boats raced across the lake and summer was an annual family affair. The Museum is sure to bring back memories for those who traveled to Tahoe for childhood summer adventures.

The current main exhibit of Gar Wood Boats features the Tahoe boating legacy, which began in 1927 when the first Gar Wood dipped and drove in the Big Blue. It is an opportunity to see several gems up close and personal. When the exhibit changes, the boats may still be viewed at the Museumand#8217;s warehouse in Truckee.

and#8220;A new exhibit will open Memorial Day Weekend,and#8221; said Jesse Siess Hadley, executive director of the Tahoe Maritime Museum. and#8220;This exhibit will focus on the history of Tahoe in 1920s.and#8221;

Hadley said the new exhibit will include feature stories of courageous adventurers who endured early conditions at the Lake. There is so much to learn from the lake, the people and how its maritime history shaped the entire Tahoe region.

Much of Lake Tahoeand#8217;s maritime history has been lovingly restored and meticulously maintained at the Tahoe Maritime Museum. The 5,800 square-foot building was completed in 2008. However, it started 24 years ago when five dedicated volunteers recognized the need to preserve Tahoeand#8217;s rich maritime history. The wooden boats and artifacts shine now just as they did and#8220;back in the day,and#8221; from the Jevarian Outboard Motor Collection wall with a 1920 Waterman Porto to the upstairs workshop area showing tools used to restore and maintain boats.

The real attribute of the Museum is an educational experience for all ages. Learn knot tying, grab a Gar Wood Boat wheel to steer at the big screen TV simulator and fly across the lake, or simply immerse yourself in history. The Museum offers school field trips as well as classroom visits by Corey Moffat, Museum education specialist.

and#8220;We had a lot of fun. I am recommending the museum to other classes,and#8221; said Truckee Elementary School third grade teacher Tamara Anderson. and#8220;It was a nice addition to our local history curriculum.and#8221;

The Museum is currently putting together a traveling trunk of hands-on artifacts and other information to be used in classrooms. This will allow and#8220;field tripsand#8221; to classrooms unable to visit the Museum.

and#8220;With our new traveling trunk for grades third and fourth we can take history right into the classrooms and structure the presentation to the curriculum,and#8221; said Hadley.

The Museum has visitors year round, with summer months the busiest. In 2011 Hadley said 5,484 people visited. Hadley would love to see more Tahoe area residents in the Museum and is now offering a second Saturday free for locals far and wide through May.

and#8212; Jean Eick is the communications manager for the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation