Glenbrook Updated.

By
Real Estate Agent with McCall Realty

Stateline, NV - Lake Tahoe Neighborhoods - GlenbrookWhere Lake Tahoe History and Every Possible Modern Convenience Meets.

(LAKE TAHOE REAL ESTATE BLOG) We've just updated Glenbrook in Stateline, NV, one of our most desirable neighborhoods on the Nevada side of our South Shore Lake Tahoe market.

With only about 2,500 single family homes, compared to about 13,500 on the California side of our market, Stateline trends and market conditions are normally very much the same as South Lake Tahoe, CA, though home values and  median sold prices are higher. Obviously, there's a lot less from which to choose.

Here's what the Glenbrook homeowners association says about Glenbrook:
Of the 750 acres comprising Glenbrook, approximately 150 have been developed. Nearly 600 acres remain undisturbed, offering homeowners a number of unique recreational opportunities. This quiet gated area includes more than 1/2 mile of private sandy beach, acres of meadowland, members tennis courts, an Association pier, and a membership nine-hole golf course, built in 1926.

Glenbrook, as the oldest settlement on Lake Tahoe, played a significant part of Nevada's statehood as the main supplier of timber to the Comstock and Virginia City. The two-story New England style homes honor the architectural heritage of Glenbrook's pioneer settlers.

All Current Market Performance Data:

Rent a vacation home in Glenbrook: 

 

The History of Glenbrook

Sources:  Glenbrook Homeowners Association website: 
http://www.glenbrookhoa.org/.
Historic images from: http://www.glenbrookrentalprogram.com/

From 1860-1899, courtesy of Alice and Al Paulsen.
1860.  Capt. Augustus W. Pray and associates settled in Glenbrook in the spring of that year.  The name was derived from a stream that ran through the meadow.  They built a log cabin, harvested the wild hay, and planted grain and vegetables.  They were known to have harvested 60 bushels of wheat and 4 tons of hay per acre, profuse that a horse drawn reaper was brought over the sierra from San Francisco to harvest it.

1861.  By the following summer the bayshore was known as Walton's Landing and considered the eastern shore over-water terminus for the toll pack train leading from Georgetown, Ca. to McKinney's on Tahoe.   From there the schooner Iron Duke or the sloop Edith Batty transported travelers across Tahoe to Walton's.  That summer the first sawmill, known as Pray's mill, was built.  The summer of 1861 also brought Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to Tahoe.   With two companions he staked out a timber claim in the vicinity of Glenbrook.   But, hard work became of secondary importance as they spent cloudless days fishing and lazily boating on the lake.  Clemens later described the lake in "Roughing It" as the "fairest picture the whole earth affords".  He pictures his cruises on the crystal clear water as "comparable to floating high aloft in mid-nothingness, so empty and airy did the spaces seem below him."  A forest fire, inadvertently started by Clemens himself, pointed up the necessity for their hasty return to Washoe.

1862.  With the discovery of the Comstock in 1859 lumbering demands skyrocketed.  Pray bought out his partners and acquired 700 acres surrounding Glenbrook.  The summer of that year Shakespeare rock was named by the wife of Rev. J.A. Benton from Mass..  While sketching she noted the lichen formation on the face of the rock which she felt resembled Shakespeare.

1863.  This year the settlements first hotel, The Glenbrook House, was built, one-half mile up the canyon by G.H.F. Goff and George Morrill.  The Kings Canyon or Lake Bigler (as it was then named) toll road was also finished that year.   For the next decade the Glenbrook House would be considered the finest and most luxurious on the lake.  Discriminating guests paid $21.00 per week, which included three meals per day.
The steam powered sawmill, the "Moniter", was completed in the fall, and the second hotel, the Lake Shore House, was built by Capt. Pray, several hundred feet back from the water at the foot of the meadow.  This would eventually become the south wing of the Glenbrook Inn with the Jellerson Hotel becoming the north wing, and the former over water store making up the center section.

1864.  The excursion steamer "Governor Blaisdel" was built by Capt. Pray.

1871.  This year the lake level was six foot lower than that recorded in 1859 and a great rivalry existed between Glenbrook and Tahoe City which was having problems due to the lower lake level.  It is said that a Tahoe City father overheard his small daughter saying sadly in her prayers, "goodbye, God, I'm going to Glenbrook".  The populace of Glenbrook argued that the child had obviously said "good!  By God I'm going to Glenbrook".

1872.  D.L. Bliss arrived in Tahoe that summer and formed a partnership with Henry Yerington and Darius Mills and incorporated the Carson Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Co. with Bliss as president and general manager.  He proceeded  to buy 7000 acres of timberland and the Summit or Elliott Brothers mill.

1873.  In the spring of that year Bliss purchased five and one-half acres of lakeshore and meadow land from Capt. Pray, including his mill.  He also purchased the Summit Fluming company's V-flume and rebuilt and lengthened it.   He then bought Michael Spooner's Lower mill plus his New mill and the old Knox sawmill east of Spooner Station.  Then they built another steam powered mill 300 yards south of the former Moniter or Davis mill, calling it Lake Mill Number One.   They were now ready to proceed on Tahoe's most ambitious lumbering venture.

1875.  That year many things happened.  A railroad extending from Glenbrook bay to Spooner summit was inaugurated on July 4th.  It comprised of eight and three-quarter miles of track costing $30,000 per mile to construct and would average $3000 per month in operation and maintenance costs during its 23 years of service.  It rose 910 feet above the lake and as it zigzagged up the mountain sections.  Switchbacks were constructed so that it went forward on a spur section, a switch was thrown behind the train and then it backed up the next section onto another spur and a switch was thrown in front, and it proceeded forward up the next section.  Forty-five logging cars were purchased for it, along with two locomotives.  Each engine could pull 70 tons of lumber or  cord wood at a maximum speed of ten miles per hour on the upgrade.  The rolling stock was shipped overland to Carson City and loaded on double teamed logging wagons and hauled to Glenbrook.  There were eventually four engines in all.
Lake Mill Number Two was built and the other mills were closed, with the exception of Summit mill.  In a short space of three years the booming little metropolis had become Nevada's leading lumber town with an anticipated seasons production exceeding 21,700,000 board feet.
That year General William Tecumseh Sherman and President Ulysses S. Grant visited the settlement, on separate occasions.  At that time the legendary Hank Monk was handling the reins on stage runs into and out of Glenbrook.

1876.  In August of that year the 80 foot iron-hulled Meteor was placed in service.  A steam tug designed to be the fastest of its type in the country.

1879.  President Hayes visited Glenbrook.

1881.  By this year Glenbrook had two small hotels, a store, a genteel saloon, a railroad, machine shops, several sawmills, a livery stable, and an Express and Post Office.  Glenbrook also had one of the first telephone line on the west coast.  A private wire was installed in the Bliss home.

1882.  The Jellerson Hotel was built a few hundred yards south of the present golf course.

1887.  The Number Two sawmill burned to it's foundation.   Then mill Number One was run 20 hours a day.

1890.  The Jellersons constructed the Dirego Hotel near the Jellerson Hotel.  The record snowfall of 1889-90 produced snow 15 feet deep on the ground with drifts 35-40 feet high.

Townspeople had to dig themselves out of second story windows or tunnel through the frozen white blanket.
The summer of 1891 found horse racing popular along the shoreline.

The Duane Bliss two and one-half story mansion contained the only real bathroom in the settlement and fantastic excuses were  thought up by tourists to get a look at the modern wonder.

By the mid 1890's the tempo of business was slowing down along with the gold and silver in the Comstock

By 1895 47000 acres of timber had been cut.  Barely 950 acres of usable pine stands remained.  During 28 years of logging activity, it is estimated that the Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Co. took from the Tahoe basin more than 750,000,000 board feet of lumber and 500,000 cords of wood.  Truly, in the words of Dan DeQuille, "the Comstock lode was the tomb of the forests of Tahoe".

In 1895 the Bliss family formed the Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Co. and prepared to move it's scope of operations across the lake to the California side.   During the next three years they purchased the steamers Meteor and Emerald #2.   In 1896 they also built the Queen of the lake, the 169 foot Tahoe Steamer.
By the 1900s Glenbrook had settled down and become the Glenbrook Inn and Ranch and its lumbering days faded in colorful memories.

From 1900-1980, courtesy of Chapman Wentworth.
At the turn of the century, Glenbrook was an environmental nightmare. The giant sawmills that had greedily ripped through 750 million board feet of lumber stood silent. Rust pitted once burnished saws. Machinery, boilers and tools had been stripped to equip new mills which sprang up at Truckee and Hobart Mills to supply booming California.

Crews that ran the mills and railroad up until 1898 had torn up the 83/mile Tahoe Railroad from Glenbrook to Spooner's Summit. Locomotives, ears, track, switches and buildings, had been floated across to Tahoe City. D.L. Bliss, Glenbrook pioneer, with the help oaf his sons had formed the Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Company. Its first big job was to complete a narrow gauge railroad link between Tahoe City. and the Central Pacific's transcontinental railway at Truckee.

The new company, emerging from the ashes of once-thriving Glenbrook spear-headed construction of Tahoe Tavern, which opened in 1901. Bliss knew that travelers would soon be flocking to Lake Tahoe.
In a few swift moves, The Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Company seized control of Lake Tahoe’s passenger, mail and freight traffic, commanding a fleet of four fat, steel hulled steamers. Led by the famed “Tahoe”, 169 foot Queen of the lake, built in 1896s, the fleet included the Meteor, the Nevada and the Emerald.
Duane L. Bliss, when he first glimpsed Glenbrook, was entranced by its beauty. He saw the enormous profit to be taken from logging, but he knew too, from the excitement Glenbrook aroused in people, that one day visitors would be inexorably drawn by its beauty.

With the Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Company well under way under the watchful eyes of son Charles T. (Bud) Bliss, the elder Bliss turned his attention to Glenbrook.  The Glenbrook Improvement Company was formed.  D.L. Bliss laid out the concept of a lake-facing resort. The same as he had done with the Tahoe Tavern.
The once thriving economy of Glenbrook had vanished when the mills closed and the work force left. All that remained was a mountain meadow ranch. The surrounding forest was a stripped expanse of stumps.

Bliss went to work, clearing out all the old buildings that blighted the landscape. All vestiges of the railroad were removed, the sawmill equipment sold off and buildings dismantled.


In 1905, the Glenbrook Inn was assembled, facing the lake at the end of the long steamer pier.
J.M. Short's over the water store was slid from its original location on a platform north of the pier to become the center part of the Glenbrook Inn complex. The Lakeshore House, built in 1863, stood at the south flank of the inn. The Jellerson House, moved from its original site near the present golf course, formed the north wing.
While Bliss was busy building the Inn, he turned the job of building up the Glenbrook Ranch over to C.C. Henningsen, a native of Denmark.

Glenbrook's meadow was thick with fertile soil. All the old industrial buildings, vacant homes and dormitories from the logging era were removed. Only what was needed for the Inn complex was saved. The huge hay barn and ranch operation buildings were pressed into service and Glenbrook began supplying Tahoe City and other lake communities with dairy products.

Every day, the lake steamers would pick up the big round 10-gallon cans of milk, returning the empties for the next day. The Glenbrook Inn opened officially in 1906. Henningsen planted the row of poplars which now tower in front of the Inn. Things were bright in Glenbrook that year, as guests from San Francisco discovered Glenbrook. But sadness came in 1907 as the elder Bliss' health failed, bringing his death, Dec. 23.The spark had been struck and Glenbrook began to grow in popularity. The ranch was flourishing under Henningsen's management.

In 1916 Henningsen's daughter, Charlotte, met Fay Shannon, who was working for C.T. (Bud) Bliss at the Tahoe Tavern. Shannon had started in the hotel business at the age of 12, as a bellhop. He had worked his way up into management with great force and persistence.He married Charlotte and in 1917 came to Glenbrook to manage the Inn. Henningsen continued to manage the ranch activities until he died in 1925. Then Fay Shannon took over both Inn and ranch. In 1927 the Glenbrook Improvement Company was dropped and the Glenbrook Company was formed with Shannon as manager. Shannon ran a taut ship, recalls his elder son Carl Shannon, 59, an auditor for the State of Nevada, who now lives at 815 West Robinson, Carson City. His brother, Bob, 55, also lives in Carson City, works for Sierra Pacific. "I've heard dad described as a martinet," Carl said. "He was a strict disciplinarian all right, but he was the kind of man who would always listen to you. If you had a problem, the door was always open. He came up with the answers." Carl said.

Glenbrook flourished as a family resort. There were 28 cottages in addition to the dining hall, with accommodations for about 90 people. There were 120 employees, offering a level of service that set the standards for the rest of the lake.

"People had to make their reservations for the following year while they were still at Glenbrook," said Carl.
"Many, wanting to make sure they could always come back to Glenbrook, pleaded with Will M. Bliss, who represented the family interests, to sell them some land so they could build their own homes," Carl said.
Gradually pieces of land were sold and some 40 private homeowners admitted during that era, make up the Glenbrook Property Owners Association today.

The Shannons had an idyllic upbringing at Glenbrook. They still call it home. Their grandmother, Emma Jennisen, wife of C.C.Henningsen, taught school at Glenbrook from 1885 to 1890. They now own the two acres, across the road from the cemetery, where the old school once stood.

Carl and Bob recall happy days as course caddies, along with Paul, Robert, and Peter (Mickey) Laxalt, now U S Senator, author and prominent attorney, respectively. Other caddies they recall were Bob Carville, son then Nevada governor; Edwin Dodson now math professor at UNR and Robert Davenport, now Nevada Supreme Court clerk.

Bob and Carl did everything father told them to, or quickly felt his wrath. There were seven slot machines on the premises, but employees were under orders not to touch them. The Glenbrook Bar, then called the Room," and now Glenbrook Realty's office, was out of bounds. Any employee caught drinking was fired.

Families came to Glenbrook year after year from San Francisco. Carl. remembers names like Haas, of Levi Strauss; Ghirardelli, the chocolate magnates; Crowe, Firestone Tire & Rubber and others, like Simpson, Schilling, Greenwood, Brooks, Bryan and Sullivan whose families are represented at Glenbrook today.
Fay Shannon died in 1946. He had been ill for a few years and Will M. Bliss had been gradually assuming responsibility. Shannon officially resigned shortly before death overtook him.

Bliss sold Charlotte Shannon the two acres of land where the Glenbrook schoolhouse once stood. He gave her the old family cabin, which she moved onto the property in 1947.

Fay Shannon built the home that now stands in Carson City in 1936. The family lived in Carson City during winter where the boys attended school After Fay Shannon's death, the family moved to Carson City permanently Will M. Bliss managed the Glenbrook Inn & Ranch until his death in 1960.

Will Bliss loved the Western tradition and sparked the famed Glenbrook rodeos that drew crowds from miles around. The rodeos were continued by W.W. (Bill) Bliss, who man Glenbrook until the fall of 1975. The resort was then closed. That year Bliss signed an agreement with R.T. Nahas, Castro Valley. President of the Urban Land Institute. for the sale and preservation of Glenbrook.

Time had ruined the Tahoe summer resort industry. Year round modern hotels and gaming had caught the fancy of the U.S. Public. Summer incomes alone could no longer keep a mountain resort alive. Bliss agreed to let Nahas’ firm, Glenbrook Properties, turn Glenbrook into a low density, single family residential community
With that agreement, Nahas agreed to maintain the historic appearance and quiet meadow and forest tranquility of Glenbrook. 

"I believe Glenbrook's future is secure. At least for the present," said Bill Bliss.

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