A Little Lake County History...Clear Lake California's Largest Natural Lake

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 NorthBay Alliance

Clear Lake, the 43,000-acre center of Lake County, is the largest natural lake in California; it may very well be the oldest lake in North America as scientific evidence has proven the lake to be at least 150,000 years old. The area took shape from volcanic action; Clear Lake's current form was created by a landslide thousands of years age which blocked the broad valley's drainage west into the Russian River. The water rose until it found a new outlet, Cache Creek, which drains eastward into the Sacramento River.

Four thousand years before the rise of the Egyptian civilization, the Pomo Indians were hunting, fishing, and collecting plant foods on the shores of Clear Lake. The lake yielded an abundance of fish, as well as tule reeds from which they made clothing, boats, dwellings, and household items. Today, Pomo baskets are widely admired throughout the West.

In the 1850's the first European families found their way to Lake County; the first of these settlers lived near what is now Kelseyville. Farming and ranching grew rapidly and toll roads began climbing over the mountains in the 1860's, bringing settlers in increasing numbers. The Pomo were gradually forced from their traditional homes to rancherias.

Natural mineral springs became immensely popular, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe to "take the waters." Huge resort complexes were built, and enjoying wide fame were Bartlett Springs, Soda Bay Springs, Seigler Springs, Anderson and Adams Springs. Many of these grand resorts were destroyed by fire, and most were not rebuilt.

Lacking roads along the perimeter of Clear Lake, steamers plied the waters connecting visitors to resorts across the lake. Steam boats, and then gas powered boats, became a favored means of transportation and recreation.

Automobiles gradually superseded boats, and it was several decades later that boats regained popularity. Today residents and visitors enjoy canoes, sailboats, fishing boats, speedboats, pontoon boats, and even oarless boat races on the many lakes of Lake County.

Agriculture has continued its role as a mainstay. Lake County's Bartlett pears, walnuts, and wines enjoy wide recognition. Wild rice and kiwifruit are products less significant. Lake County's four wineries have earned more awards per acre than any other per acre area in the world.

In the twenty-first century, Lake County begins a renaissance reminiscent of her former glory as "playground" to the Bay Area.

NOTE: The above info was graciously provided by the wonderful folks at the Lake County Visitor's Center...THANKS!

Comments (2)

Keller Williams Great Falls, Mclean
Keller Williams, Serving Mclean, Arlington & Reston areas - McLean, VA

Hey Hank, Great last name!  thansk ffro joining my associates and welcome to ActiveRain!


-Scott Montgomery


May 26, 2007 12:35 PM
Keller Williams Great Falls, Mclean
Keller Williams, Serving Mclean, Arlington & Reston areas - McLean, VA
forgive the typos- I hit send to quickly ;>
May 26, 2007 12:36 PM