Lake Tahoe’s legendary scenic beauty is witnessed annually by millions of visitors. While the lake’s first sighting (in 1843) by a nonnative was made from a mountain peak, the lake’s maritime history began a scant seven years later. Although most of the early steamers were designed for industrial use, the sight of a boat venturing out into the vast, deep blue expanse of Lake Tahoe attracted the attention of residents and visitors alike. After the inevitable decline of extractive industries, tourism became the main economic engine in Lake Tahoe. The steamer era and the evolution of wooden-boat racing are celebrated today by the romantic races of the two paddle wheelers and the annual Concours d’Elegance boat show.
Author Bio: Peter Goin is a foundation professor of art at the University of Nevada and author of several award-winning books. Drawing from the photograph collections of the Nevada Historical Society, North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, South Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Special Collections at the University of Nevada, and the Tahoe Maritime Museum, Goin redefines this faceted jewel, Lake Tahoe, and its surprisingly varied maritime history.
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