Publication date: September 2011
$21.95Add to cart
A Short History of Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is one of the scenic wonders of the American West, a sapphire jewel that attracts millions of visitors each year. But the lake drew Native Americans to its summer shores for millennia, as well as more recent fortune hunters, scientists, and others.
A Short History of Lake Tahoe recounts the long, fascinating history of Lake Tahoe. Author Michael J. Makley examines the geology and natural history of the lake and introduces the people who shaped its history, including the Washoe Indians and such colorful characters as Mark Twain and legendary teamster Hank Monk, and later figures like entertainer Frank Sinatra and Olympic skier Julia Mancuso. He also covers the development of the lake’s surrounding valley, including the impacts of mining, logging, and tourism, and the economic, political, and social controversies regarding the use and misuse of the lake’s resources.
Generously illustrated with historic photographs, this book is an engaging introduction to one of the most magnificent sites in the world. It also illuminates the challenges of protecting natural beauty and a fragile environment while preserving public access and a viable economy in the surrounding communities.
“Mike Makley proves it is possible to present history in a way that’s interesting, concise, and readable. He is a thorough researcher who clearly knows his stuff when it comes to Lake Tahoe and writes about it with a strong, clear voice. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone who has ever visited, lived at, or read about Lake Tahoe—and wanted to know more about its history and development.” -- Richard Moreno, author of A Short History of Carson City
“I am spellbound by the indigenous people, lumberjacks, rusticators, bureaucrats, and conservationists all colliding at the intersection of Mike Makley’s story of Lake Tahoe.” -- Bill Watson, manager and curator
of the Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society
"Makley's erudite, eminently readable brief history of Lake Tahoe is a polished gem. Beginning with the region's significance to the Washoe Indians and covering succeeding gold, logging, and tourism booms, it delves into how Tahoe was named, developed, and exploited. Makley gives equal time to environmentalists and the delicate dancing of California and Nevada politicians. It's not all backroom deals and lawsuits, however. Makley shares plenty of gossipy stories, including Mark Twain's 1861 visit (covered in Twain's own Roughing It), John Steinbeck's hilarious failed stint as a caretaker, and Frank Sinatra's run-ins with the Nevada Gaming Board. He profiles more than one eccentric and numerous sports heroes, including recent Olympic downhill star Julia Mancuso. Everything, from the stately boats that plied the lake to the Washoes' court battle against rock climbers on a sacred site, contributes to giving readers a revealing survey of Tahoe's past. Illustrated with historic photos, Makley's work could serve as a blueprint for writing relevant and engaging regional history." -- Booklist
"A Short History of Lake Tahoe is a rich, involved tapestry populated by colorful characters, and highly recommended especially for armchair travelers." -- Midwest Book Review
"Michael J. Makley...offers a succinct, readable account of the sapphire-jewel lake and its surrounding localities." -- California History