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Lake Tahoe, the beautiful, tranquil and peaceful place on the top of many tourist destinations may be a star or a dud when planning your next vacation. The esteemed work of art in nature’s bounty has seen many turn of events over the years that could likely yield a disappointing venture. Still packed with sights to see, things to do and places to go, Lake Tahoe may be full of danger from hauntings of the past.
Beside the history of the largest and second deepest natural lake in the United States, Lake Tahoe boasts a prime location, a perfect setting for weddings and a ski bum’s dream come true. With Mount Rose and Alpine Meadow close by, the snow can be fresh, yet dangerous. Just a mere 38 miles from Reno, one of the closest airports, travel can be treacherous during heavy snowfalls, taking hours to reach the destination. All things considered, Lake Tahoe still remains a most desired location for get aways.
The almost one hundred and ninety-two square feet of lake water is clear blue and usually hosts the constant temperatures that are to be expected. Ranging from 40-60 degrees in the late winter and up to 65-70 in the summer months, Lake Tahoe remains beautiful, calming and serene.
The outside rim of the lake is where all the action takes place, despite the many offered sailings upon the treasured landmark. Real estate, retail, casinos and restaurants have made the location a tourist trap, complete with the downfalls of society.
The once peaceful land surrounding Lake Tahoe was home to the Washoe Indians, as well as other tribes. Once John C. Fremont discovered the territory in the mid 1800’s, it all changed. Once the Gold Rush era entered full stage, the land around the lake became a prize possession of the white man.
The old men of Lake Tahoe slowly said goodbye as their land was taken over by newcomers. Not forgetting their heritage, the Washoe Indians migrated into safer lands but never forgot their homeland.
Through the years, more development took place with hotels and resorts with the beautiful Lake Tahoe as the focal point. Big name stars, such Frank Sinatra took refuge in the simple get-away from the big cities like Los Angeles and made a quiet nest among the Sierra Nevada Mountains and enjoyed solitude and selectiveness.
Zooming in on the Cal-Neva Lodge which had been established many years before Sinatra’s hey-day, the blue-eyed singer made it his home away from home. Sinatra took over the ill fated inn that had been home to suicides and a demolishing fire and made it the place to be for himself and his comrades for a good part of the 1960’s.
The Cal-Neva Lodge, which sits on the North shore of Lake Tahoe rests on the border of two states. Claiming California and Nevada as its own, the pool even documents the borders of the two states in its pool. Marriages taking place at the resort require a license from either state, but may mean walking to a correct location on the resort to make it legal.
Visits to the Cal-Neva Lodge in recent years have involved the stories of years that have been haunted by Sinatra and his friends. Rising above the smell of the juniper and ponderosa pines may give way to ghosts of decades past and the skeletons left behind.
Sinatra was a key player back in the 60’s along with his good friends, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and Peter Lawford. The casino was wild with action and the secret passageways full of travel. Hosting the likes of Marilyn Monroe just a week before her death in August of 1962, the Cal-Neva cabins still hold many secrets to the hauntings of Lake Tahoe and the ghosts that have gone on from there.
The Cal-Neva, once the hot spot of entertainment, is going through yet another renovation with completion expected in the spring of 2015. The place is determined to stay in the limelight and will continue to house the spirit of ghosts and Indians gone by. The original parking spot is still reserved for Sinatra, as it should be, as his presence will always linger upon the grounds.
Whether the Washoe Indians still hold claim to the lake and the land surrounding it, the acrid odor is apparent. The rancid smelling aroma that distracts from the beautiful scenery, may be due to recent forest fires in the region or just the hovering of hauntings by ghosts throughout the years.
Lake Tahoe has a history, going back into decades and with those who have staked claim in the land. Hauntings have been well documented, involving private underground tunnels, moanings and other strange occurances. The past is still not settled as Lake Tahoe claims a new life for its own despite the hauntings from the past.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon