A century ago, what is now the Tallac Historic Site and heralded as the "Grandest Resort in the World," was the summer retreats for three of San Francisco Bay Area's socially elite families. Today, the remains of the resort and the restored estates attract thousands of visitors annually to recapture this bygone and significant era in Lake Tahoe's history. The site contains 19 historic structures including three rustic mansions dating from 1873 to the1920s. The mansions and many smaller buildings set the stage for a variety of music and arts programs.
These rustic estates are nestled in the secluded woods and along the beaches of the Tallac Historic Site. Far from the crowds and gambling, the Tallac Historic Site is also home to the archeological remains of the Tallac Resort. The 74-acre tract of land is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. The Tallac Historic Site offers something for everyone and is adjacent to Kiva picnic area and the Taylor Creek Visitor Center.
Today, visitors can capture a glimpse of this opulent past when they explore the site. The Pope, Baldwin and Valhalla Estates are open to the public in different capacities. The Baldwin House, built in 1921, is home to the Tallac Museum which contains historical exhibits of the resort and Tahoe's original residents, the Washoe people. It is open daily, free of charge, in the summer months. The Pope Estate, built in 1894, is open for guided tours and houses changing art exhibits. The Valhalla Grand Hall is truly grand with beautiful wood floors, an open wood beam ceiling, a balcony of lodge pole construction and a 20 foot high stone fireplace! It was built in 1923 and is now the site of summer concerts, the Cultural Arts Gift Store and is available for rental.
The Washoe, native people of California and Nevada, spent their summers here for many generations. You can walk trails that lead to the areas where they gathered food and made their homes. You may experience the Washoe culture by visiting the Tallac Site's Washoe Garden or attending patio talks and special programs given at the Baldwin Museum and Visitor Center. The Wa She Shu It Deh Native American Festival is held in July and includes a basket weaving competition, native film festival, and traditional dance with native artists and performers.
The Tahoe Tallac Association sponsors the Valhalla Arts, Music, and Theatre Festival which is held at various venues throughout the Tallac Site. The Festival includes a variety of events for adults and children lasting from late June into September: concerts ranging from Bluegrass to Jazz to Cajun music; art exhibits featuring the finest regional artists, and art workshops designed for children. The Tahoe Tallac Association, in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service, is committed to restoring these estates and opening them to the public.
The Valhalla Arts, Music, and Theatre Festival aims to help restore the Tallac Historic Site to its former grandeur and to bring the cultural arts to the public. To learn more about the Valhalla Arts, Music, and Theatre Festival, please visit www.valhallatahoe.com.