Lake Tahoe’s Unique and Unconventional George Whittell

History Lake Tahoe's Unique and Unconventional George Whittell

George Whittell Jr. was born in San Francisco in 1881, an heir to one of San Francisco's wealthiest families. Whittell live a lifestyle that can only be described as unconventional and anomalous. He joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus for a season, married a beautiful Parisian socialite, kept an African Lion as his pet, played high stakes poker with the likes of Howard Hughes and Ty Cobb, and built the most beautiful yacht to have glided upon Lake Tahoe's water. In 1936, while living at Reno's Riverside Hotel, Whittell “inadvertently” became the owner of over 27 miles of Lake Tahoe waterfront and a total of over 40,000 acres of the Lake Tahoe Basin. George and Elia built their beautiful estate, the Thunderbird Lodge, just north of Sand Harbor on Tahoe's NE shore. Its stone façade, walls and walkways, are a perfect example of an approach to architectural design that is intended to be in harmony with its surroundings. The beautiful rockwork of the lodge, and adjoining walls and walkways, was constructed by young Native American students from Carson City's Stewart Indian School. Plans to establish residential tracts, palatial casinos and a downhill ski area on his Lake Tahoe property never materialized. The peaceful seclusion afforded by his vast Lake Tahoe land holdings, became his most valued possession. And though his motives may have been fortuitous, we can thank George Whittell Jr. for the relatively undeveloped nature of Lake Tahoe's northeast shore today.

Event Details

Phone: 760 920.8061
Admission: Free
Rated: G - General Audiences

Sierra Arts Gallery
17 S. Virginia St., Ste. 120
Reno, NV 89501

Event Schedule

July 8 2pm - 3pm
Gate/Door Time: 1:30pm

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