Thunderbird Lodge National Historic Site

One of the most stunning pieces of Lake Tahoe's history is the secluded Thunderbird Lodge. The eccentric San Francisco real estate magnate, George Whittell, built this magnificent Tudor Revival summer estate between 1936 and 1939. Legend abounds about the enigmatic Whittell, his menagerie of wild animals, and flamboyant lifestyle.

Read more


Latitude: 39.2048425 Longitude: -119.9303581 Elevation: 6266 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Bill Watson

About this Establishment

The Thunderbird Lodge is one of the last and best examples of a great residential estate on Lake Tahoe from the period in which prominent San Francisco society built homes on the lake. In addition to the main house, there is a Card House, Caretaker's Cottage, the Cook/Butler's House, an elephant garage, the Admiral's House, Gatehouse, and the Boathouse with adjoining 600' tunnel and home to Whittell's legendary 55-foot speed boat, Thunderbird. Built in 1940 fashioned of double-planked mahogany and brushed stainless steel, this classic Tahoe boat is one of the most unique and elegant wooden vessels crafted in the Twentieth century and is as much a work of art as a means of transportation.

Time Period Represented


Hours Open

Reservations Required

Visitor Fees


Seasons Open

May - October

Pet Friendly Notes

Lions, tigers, and elephants are welcome.

Leave a Comment