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Tahoe Life

Not only is the Lake Tahoe region majestic and world-famous, but did you know it holds the key to a rich history, too? Here are some of the lesser-known fun facts that make Tahoe the special, interesting place it is today.

  • Throughout history, Lake Tahoe tried on many different names! The Washoe tribe originally inhabited the basin, and their word for lake is “da ow”. The lake was originally referred to as “da ow a ga”.  Over time, suggested names included: Mountain Lake, Lake Bonpland, Lake Bilger, Maheon Lake, Gleason Valley, Truckee Lake, Lake Valley, Tula Tulia, Largo Bergler, Sierra Lake, and Lake Union. It was finally named Lake Tahoe in 1945. The origins of the word “Tahoe” is that it is the Anglo-American pronunciation of “da ow”. 
  • Ever see the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me?  In the movie, Bond skis down a mountainsaide and then BASE jumps off a cliff. The idea for this jump came from Tahoe’s Rick Sylvester, a 50-year-resident an adventure seeker who invented what he called a ski parachute jump. He later performed the stunt which was filmed and included in the movie.
  • Tahoe is home to a few businesses that have been around a long time. Truckee’s Cabona’s as well as the Tahoe City Golf Course both turn 100 years old this year! The golf course was once intended only for use by upscale clientele, but later became open to the general public.
  • Glenbrook is home to a 133-acre Shakespearean ranch once visited by Robin Williams, Jay Leno, and Lionel Richie, which went up for sale in 2015 for $98 million and was most recently listed for $69 million. The ranch has 17 guest homes, 25 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, and 13 kitchens, as well as an indoor pool house, horse stables, a greenhouse, and a root cellar converted into a tap room. 
  • The Cal-Neva Resort in Incline Village was once Tahoe’s “Sinatraland.” Frank Sinatra owned the resort between 1960 and 1963 and wanted it to be filled with razzle-dazzle, music, lights, gambling, and more. Today, some say the Cal-Neva is haunted, because Sinatra fell on very bad luck during his time of ownership.

These are just a few of the many interesting tidbits of history found around the lake. For the history buff, we recommend checking out some of the many great locally published books describing the area and its history. Readers can find books like this at Tahoe City’s Alpenglow Sports, Truckee’s Word After Word Books or the North Lake Tahoe Visitors' Center.