Lake Tahoe's History

Real Estate Agent with Chase International Real Estate Ca BRE #1746610

Lake Tahoe's History

Lake Tahoe's History began several million years ago when continued volcanic activity dropped the valley floor down and eventually resulted in the formation of the Lake Tahoe basin.

Lake Tahoe's History

The Lake Tahoe basin and the Sierra Nevada Mountains that surround it were well beneath sea level 300 million years ago. As the North American Continental Plate and the Pacific Ocean Plate drifted together, friction and pressure melted the two plates and sent up a hot plug of magma that cooled to form the base of granite that would eventually develop into the Sierras.

About 100 million years ago, the Sierras began to take shape as erosion and exposure to the elements began carving the granite into mountains. A very active volcanic age 30 million years ago faulted and uplifted the surrounding ranges on the east and west of the Sierras.

The cooler summer temperatures in Lake Tahoe along with the abundance of fish and game are just some of the reasons why the western Nevada Washoe Indian Tribes have summered here for some 10,000 years. The first white man discovered Tahoe in 1844, but it was largely ignored until the Virginia City Comstock Lode was discovered in 1859. Tahoe’s natural resources were plundered to provide lumber for building and fueling the mines for the next 20 years.

Initially the water level in the basin was over 800 feet higher, but downstream flow and several periods of glaciation over the last 10,000 years have cut the valleys and eroded the canyons into their current channels allowing the water to flow through the Truckee River down to the lowlands of Nevada. Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Donner Lake are all characteristic examples of glacial valleys.

By the turn of the century, wealthy San Francisco families had purchased large areas of Lake Tahoe after it had been logged and stripped of its timber. Resorts like Tahoe Tavern, Glenbrook Inn, and Tallac House began to spring up to serve the summer tourist trade of west coast vacationers, and Tahoe’s undisputed reputation as “the place to go” for summer fun had begun.

Today you will find that the Lake Tahoe - Truckee area is still "the place to go" for summer and winter fun in Northern California. Resort and second home owners make up the largest part of residential property here and they come from all over the world. Lake Tahoe boasts some of the most exciting lake and mountain properties anywhere, and the range of property type goes from a cozy cabin in the woods to world class luxury homes, golf course resort properties, ski-in ski-out slope side homes and condos, lakefront estates and amazing lake view homes that seem to be falling off of a cliff!

For information about buying or selling residential or commercial property in the Lake Tahoe - Truckee area and all of your Lake Tahoe – Truckee Luxury real estate needs – please call Craig Cooper, 530.414.4123Tahoe REALTOR®, Tahoe Real Estate Agent, CLHMS, CRS, ABR, RSPS, Luxury Home Specialist, Cal BRE# 01746610

Chase International Real Estate, Tahoe City, California

Lake Tahoe's History

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Comments (12)

Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker Realty, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Craig Cooper - This is a great post that shares why Lake Tahoe is year-around destination for fun!

Jan 28, 2016 04:05 AM
Craig Cooper
Chase International Real Estate - Tahoe City, CA
Creating-Preserving-Growing Wealth in Real Estate

thank you for commenting... did you notice that this appeared on linked in as an active rain post?

Jan 28, 2016 10:11 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Lake Tahoe has something to offer visitors twelve months out of the year.  I enjoyed reading about the history.  I love visiting in the summer when Dallas is 100+ degrees!

Feb 01, 2016 02:12 PM
Craig Cooper
Chase International Real Estate - Tahoe City, CA
Creating-Preserving-Growing Wealth in Real Estate

Thanks Sharon, Dallas @ 100 sounds like the right time to be in Tahoe! We don't worry much when its very cold here but if we get to 80+ degrees in the summer, everyone thinks we're in a heat wave!

Feb 01, 2016 04:32 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Craig I love history and lake Tahoe, which makes it even more interesting. I loved Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale  comment, now in my case it would only be a visit in the spring, summer or fall but never when there is SNOW:))Endre

Feb 10, 2016 03:12 PM
Craig Cooper

You have the proper seasons in mind Endre! The cold is beginning to feel colder year after year but the warmer seasons are special.

Feb 10, 2016 06:40 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks for sharing the history Craig, when I think of your lake I remember a few of your famous tv residents, the Cartwrights of the Ponderosa Ranch and the map they would show each week of Lake Tahoe at the edge of the ranch.

Feb 28, 2016 05:00 PM
Craig Cooper
Chase International Real Estate - Tahoe City, CA
Creating-Preserving-Growing Wealth in Real Estate

That's funny Bob, remembering Hoss and Little Joe and Hop Sing! We live not far from what was used as the film set for town which was actually about a 250 acre ranch rising above the lake. I can't remember what it sold for a few years ago but I remember hearing something like $200 M! 

Feb 28, 2016 05:05 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Thanks for posting this wonderful history of Lake Tahoe.  I really appreciated this post, and I learned so much about the Lake that I did know about.  One of our clients assistants, is there this week enjoying the snow!  Wishing you a great March.  A

Feb 29, 2016 01:16 PM
Craig Cooper

Growing up and skiing in Colorado, I would be thrown off of the chair lift when my nose turned white from frost bite! As you probably know, in Tahoe we get warm temps (40 degrees) for skiing and the risk is getting serious sun burn while on the slopes!

Feb 29, 2016 06:01 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Craig I had to come back I had no idea...I was always watching the show but never connected it to Lake Tahoe... to me it remains Fredo's Grave:)), Endre

Feb 29, 2016 01:41 PM
Craig Cooper
Chase International Real Estate - Tahoe City, CA
Creating-Preserving-Growing Wealth in Real Estate

That's one of the most underated qualitites of Lake Tahoe Endre. When you have 1600 ft of depth in an alpine lake, and you row out just a couple of hundred yards to clear the shelf near the shore, what ever you drop into the water won't ever be seen again! There is nothing that can operate at the pressure levels of 1600 feet except a rare number of submersibles. Legend has it that nothing has ever been retrieved from the bottom.

Feb 29, 2016 05:43 PM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Good morning Craig Cooper ,  It's fascinating to see how the different areas of the country were formed and used throughout history.  That's why I vacation in the US.  There's a lot to see!

Mar 04, 2016 12:32 AM
Pamela Cendejas
Second Self Virtual Assistance - Kingman, AZ
Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235

I absolutely love Lake Tahoe.  I can't wait to visit again.  Thank you for telling me things I didn't know about it. 

Mar 28, 2016 04:07 AM
Craig Cooper

thank you for taking a look Pamela, the everyday beauty of this area just doesn't quit!

Mar 28, 2016 04:38 AM