Surprised by History & Wildflowers

When Jenny and I headed out for a stroll today, we were only looking for a chance to catch up but we found so much more.

We turned a corner on the trail and ran into the historic Round Hill Pines Resort. Wow. The ownership of this property has a storied history, beginning in 1864.  By 1919, Norman DeVaux (automobile manufacturer from Oakland) bought the property and constructed several buildings as a summer residence and accommodations for guests. The Lodge, the first structure to be erected on the site, was completed in 1922, with three guest cabins, a garage, wash house, gate house, and other amenities completed during DeVaux's ownership.
As we explored, we discovered. This piece of vitreous china, made by the Trenton Potteries Company of NJ, was most likely a bathroom sink. Since 1894, TEPECO has been making sanitary ware, with this one dating from the 20s.
In 1931, the Round Hill Pines property was purchased by Arthur K. Bourne, one of the heirs to the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The Bourne family resided on the property during the summer months. During his tenure on the land, Bourne purchased additional acreage at Lake Tahoe, eventually owning 800 acres in the basin. In 1951 he built a house one mile to the north and converted the summer place into a commercial resort. Jenny is photographing The Lodge.
The most stunning of the buildings, the Round Mountain Lodge (1922), was constructed of logs on a mortared stone foundation. A concrete terrace, facing Lake Tahoe, was also supported by a mortared stone retaining wall. Yes, we are standing on the terrace and it was pretty cool.
Arthur Bourne's Round Hill Pines Resort opened for the summer season in 1951, with amenities that included a beach terrace, heated pool, professional tennis court, badminton, tether ball, volleyball, fishing in Bourne Lake (east of the site), a driving range (in the meadow north of the site), a private beach and dock, and a boat slip rental. Motel units were constructed in 1956. By the summer of 1963, the resort had increased to 30 units, including housekeeping cottages, and operated from June 15 to September 15.

The resort continued in operation until 1969, when sewer improvements forced its closure. A casino development, proposed for the property, was denied by the Douglas County Planning Commission. The Round Hill residential development then just closed. In 1984, the property was purchased by the USDA National Forest Service for $8,950,000. Since that time, only the beach area of the resort has been used, leased to a concessionaire for day use (where we had lunch today).
In 2002, the property had an intensive survey report done to see if it could be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. At that time, what remained of the Round Hill Pines Resort were 24 buildings constructed in the 1920s and 1930s.
The report did determine that the resort was eligible based on its  role in the history of 1920s-1950s tourism at Lake Tahoe and as an important example of the Resort Rustic style of architecture, popular in the Lake Tahoe Basin between 1900 and 1940. So what happened? Why are these historic buildings left to deteriorate? It was a sad reminder of happier summers that must have happened here.
All was not sad. A joyful discovery we made was the fact that wildflowers were still in bloom. What a surprise.

Flowers bloomed, bees buzzed and butterflies fluttered.

New discoveries and nature's beauty! It was a pretty great day in Lake Tahoe.

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Karen Booth said...

Oh, are you taunting me with your amazing close up photography? Just kidding -- love and appreciate it :)

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