A Short History of Lake Tahoe

By Owens, Patricia Ann | California History, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview
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A Short History of Lake Tahoe


Owens, Patricia Ann, California History


A SHORT HISTORY OF LAKE TAHOE By Michael J. Makley (Reno and Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press, 2011, 192 pp., $21.95 paper)

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LAKE TAHOE IS KNOWN FOR its stunning beauty and its plethora of recreational opportunities, but without a doubt many of the lake's admirers do not know much about its history. Michael J. Makley, author of several regional histories, offers a succinct, readable account of the sapphire-jewel lake and its surrounding localities.

Divided into twelve chapters, each richly illustrated with black-and-white photographs, the author commences with the Washoe Indians who inhabited the lakeshore for hundred of years. Providing substance to the people, the Washoe revered the lake. This was not true of Anglo Americans, who first entered the region in 1844 when John C. Fremont viewed Lake Tahoe from atop Red Lake Peak. Settlers soon followed, harvesting timber and cutting roads to such mining regions as the Comstock Lode, all in total disregard of the region's ecosystem: their emphasis was on making money from the bountiful natural resources.

By the late 1850s, a new source of revenue was available from tourists who came to take in the scenery while staying at the guest hotels that had sprung up around the lakeshore.

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