Baldwin Estate on Lake Tahoe’s Uncertain Future

One of the Baldwin Estate cabins at the Tallac Historic Site on Lake Tahoe. – Courtesy Photo

By Galen Patterson

Part 3 in a series.

When Lucky Baldwin purchased the land at the southern-most tip of Lake Tahoe, he saved 8,000 acres of forest from being cut down. The Nevada mineral rush had caused a frenzy of clear cutting in the area but the private acquisition of the Baldwin Estate ensured that Baldwin land would not be touched.

Lucky bought a pre-existing hotel on the property, built a second hotel and a casino. The family built individual cabins for family members. Lucky named it the Tallac Resort after the nearby mountain.

At Tallac, the Baldwin Estate grew into a large-scale resort where wealthy men met, gambled, hunted freely, sailed boats and enjoyed general leisure in the resort, lake and beach.

After Lucky’s death in 1909, Anita ran the resort; when popularity declined, Anita tore down the commercial buildings. After Anita’s death, Dextra Baldwin took control of Tallac. Over time, they parceled out pockets of land to other developers who contributed to the land by building separate estates.

Read More: The Clara Baldwin Stocker Home

Dextra gave the land to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to run in conjunction with the Tahoe Heritage Foundation. Today it is still operational as a museum and historical site.

It’s elegantly crafted wooden cabins still stand and events are held at the once popular resort. A Baldwin Poker tournament is still an annual tradition, in addition to a Gatsby festival celebrating the gilded age.

The park is seasonal and open only for the summers. Harsh winters make tourism inviable around the lake and take heavy tolls on the architecture.

Recently, the Tahoe Heritage Foundation released a list of improvements they want to make on the historic site, some for safety and others for restoration. The estimates for the Baldwin Estate portion alone are around $850,000.

Furthermore, the Tahoe Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization and is locked into an agreement with the USFS to operate the facility. The USFS is asking for $60,000 over the course of two years for usage of a storage facility.

If the facility cannot come up with the money, they may have to shut down the Baldwin Historic Site. Without renovations and restorations, the site will decay under the harsh elemental conditions at a more rapid rate and eventually there may be nothing left.

April 24, 2019

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Galen Patterson

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