History in Lake Tahoe

Boasting a rich and colorful Old West history, Lake Tahoe and its surrounding areas help tell the tale of how the West was tamed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The lake itself is approximately 2 million years old and one of the world’s 20 oldest lakes. The famous Pony Express ran through Carson City and right past Lake Tahoe on its way to Sacramento in the mid 19th century.

The Lake Tahoe area is home to 19th- and 20th-century palatial homes, including Thunderbird Lodge, which was built by George Whittell, Jr., a real estate developer, in 1936. Here you can tour the home and gardens of the historic six-acre waterfront estate on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. This “castle in the sky” is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. And don’t leave without a look at the Thunderbird Yacht, one of the world’s most remarkable wooden boats, which has played host to a plethora of celebrities through the years.

About half an hour away, Carson City makes for an excellent day trip to explore the state capital and learn more about the region’s history. Here you can tour the Nevada State Capitol and view the Nevada Governor’s Mansion (listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places). Spend the afternoon leisurely strolling through the Nevada State Museum and the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Virginia City is another pleasant day trip for history buffs. About an hour away from Incline Village, it retains much of the historic charm of its mid 19th century mining town roots, where restored buildings and board sidewalks — as well as fascinating museums like the Fourth Ward School Museum — help take you back to the Old West.

When you stay with us at Hyatt Residence Club Lake Tahoe, High Sierra Lodge, the region’s history and stories come alive at sites and museums all around you.