Homewood-Tahoma Area History
Timeline | Stories | Lake Avenue Ownership | Links

1868 - Thomas McConnell of Sacramento bought 2 miles of lakefront from a point north of Eagle rock past the current Homewood.
1889 - Thomas McConnell forms the Homewood District and laid out the Lakeside subdivision with a row of lots on each side of what is now Hwy 89.
1909 - Post Office established.
  Residents - Ed Farmer, Dr. Etta Farmer, Senator Voorhees, Adolph Mueller,
  "Peg Leg" Saunders who owned the water company, the Prentiss family,   the Holabirds and the Blacks.1
  Mr. Farmer opened a store and Dr. Farmer had a medical practice in the summer.
  They returned to their home in Folsom in the winter.

1910 - Hotel Homewood started by Annien and Atrhur Jost.
1922 - Ed Farmer sold his store to J. P. "Jake" Obexer, but Dr. Farmer continued her medical practice.
1938 - Donald Huff, from Woodland, purchased the Hotel.
1938 - Henry J. Kaiser built Fleur Du Lac estate just north of Homewood. He sold it in the late 50s.
1961 - A rope tow was set up by Ron Rupp and others on what would become Homewood Mountain Resort.
    Source: Sacramento Magazine, Dec. 2006
1961 - Ron Rupp and Jimmy Pate establish a water ski school at Homewood after touring the lake several times and determining it had the most calm waters.
196? - The rope tow was stolen and moved south to Tahoe Ski Bowl.
1962 - Helen Alrich, who's family had interests in the Blake, Moffitt & Towne paper company, bought the Homewood Hotel and ski hill.
1963 - The Hotel was torn down because it was unsafe.
1969 - Ernest Kettenhoffen sold Chambers Lodge to the Pirini Corporation. This included the Quail Lake Water Company and a half-interest in Tahoe Ski Bowl.
1973 - Godfather Part II scenes filmed at Fleur Du Lac
1980 - Nate Topol bought the Lakefront property of the old Homewood Resort from Mrs. Alrich
1982-1999 - Tahoe Music Festival Summer concerts held in Topol Pavilion near the site of the old resort.
1987 - Proposed quitclaim Deed to transfer Lake Ave. (the beach) ownership to lakefront property owners. See more below.
1987 - Homewood Ski Area (Hellen Alrich) bought Tahoe Ski bowl to the south and the combined areas are now know as Homewood Mountain Resort.
1998 - The Jeff Yurosek family (JLLC), who own a pistachio farm in Southern California, bought Homewood Mountain Resort.
2005 - Homewood Mountain Resort sold several hundred acres from Madden Creek North to Cherry Street to the National Forrest Service.
2005 - First 3 of Topol's "Villas at Harborside" (fractional-ownership residences) were completed on the lot next to the West Shore CafeCafé.
2006 - JMA Ventures (Art Chapman - President) bought Homewood Mountain Resort from Jeff Yurosek.
2996 - New West Shore CafeCafé & Inn opened.
  The inn portion of the property is now operational with four two-room
  suites, and two single rooms comfortably located just upstairs from the restaurant.

2007 - Momewood Mountain Resort (JMA) is setting up a pavilion for 5 Tahoe Music Festival concerts at the end of July and beginning of Aug. A permanent pavilion is part of their proposal for the base area development.
2007 - TRPA approves revised plans for the "Villas at Harborside" to include 6 units on the remaining three lots (2 units per lot) .


Chambers Landing / John McKinney:
What we know today as Chambers Landing was started by John Washington McKinney, a genuine mountain man, when he founded Hunter's Retreat here in 1863, claimed to be the finest hunting and fishing camp in the Sierra Nevada, here in 1863.
The part of Lake Tahoe by Homewood and Tahoma is called McKinney Bay.

By 1869, McKinney had created a resort with 20 cabins and a number of tents. The present Chambers bar was built in 1875 - the first boathouse on Tahoe - although from the beginning, it doubled as a bar and clubhouse.

John Muir, the famous naturalist and outdoorsman, was among the many notable early Californians who were regular guests at McKinney's. Muir once described the sugar pines surrounding the resort as "priests of the forest extending their arms in benediction over the congregation."

McKinney, the colorful former-mountain man, was a good host but a poor businessperson. He lost the retreat in 1892 over a $600 whisky debt. William Westhoff, a "spirits drummer" from Sacramento, took over the property. n 1920, David Henry Chambers purchased McKinney's resort from the Westhoffs and renamed it Chambers Lodge.

Ernest Kettenhoffen purchased the property in 1956 with partners that he quickly bought out. Ernest's brother, Ray, who ran the resort, had the white sand for the beach trucked in from Carmel.

In 1969, Kettenhoffen sold Chambers Lodge to the Pirini Corporation.

Chambers Punch:
Chambers Landing dockside bar is famous for this signature adult beverage.
The punch dates from a night in 1976 when long-time local Rick Brown (Huff's Grandson), now a VP at Homewood Mountain Resort, and his friend, Ted Grebitus, bellied up to the bar to celebrate a win in a local sailing regatta.
"I had the trophy, which was a big silver bowl," remembers Brown, "and I looked back to Sid (the bartender) and said, 'Let's come up with our own Tahoe Punch.' He started pouring light rum and dark rum into the bowl. Next, we added orange and pineapple juice, sweet and sour and grenadine for color and a floater of 151."

Source: Chambers Landing, The Original Boat Bar at TahoeQuarterly.com


Stories:
In the early 1960s, a local youth hauled skiers on a rope tow up what would become Homewood's mountain. When he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War, another local stole the rope tow and moved it south to Tahoe Ski Bowl.


Lake Avenue (beach) ownership controversy:
In his original Lakeside subdivision (1918), which included one row of lots on each side side of Hwy 89, Thomas McConnell had established the beach as a public road available to all residents not just the lakefront homeowners.

In in the late 50's the Calendars and Perrymans prompted Placer County in the late 50's to order all the individual lakefront owners to remove side fences and decks off their (Placer County's) Beach. The Lakefront owner's sued back and the Court Decision of Royal Miller vs Placer County concluded that neither the Lakefront owner's or Placer County owned this beach parcel; it belonged to all the uphill as well as Lakefront owners, primarily? because of the recorded 1918? notice by the Subdivider Tom McConnell of his intent for this Beach parcel.

In the early 60's, Ray Perryman, worked with Placer County on the issue.
The Superior Court Decision and Appellant Court Decision was that Placer County owned this Beach. Obexer's then signed a lease with Placer County for the use of this beach!

The following is based on some correspondence my father had and my best recollection and may not be completely accurate:
The ownership of Lake Avenue was shown as unknown in the county records. In 1985 the Placer County Assessors office investigated and and found no deed. They only found a statement by McConnell that it was to be retained as a "Park" for the use of the owners of lots in "Lakeside Subdivision". The County agreed to abandon any claim to Lake Ave. and determined that it belonged to the heirs (children and grandchildren) of Thomas McConnell.
There were liability issues and in 1987 they proposed transferring ownership to the lakefront property owners with quitclaim deeds. The other property owners were concerned that the access they had always had to the beach would be cut off. The "Homewood Terrace Property Owners Association" was formed to try and get ownership of Lake Ave.. Meanwhile the Lakefront property owners formed their own "Homewood Lakeside Homeowners Assn." with the same objective.

There were issues as to the boundaries of lake Ave. It was technically from the high water mark to the edge or the lakefront property owners lot, but many property owners had decks which came almost to the high water mark and they, understandably, didn't want people walking across their decks.

The last documentation I could find in my father's files was in Oct. 1989, where the state Attorney General was involved in resolving the issue.

In 1991 the "Homewood Homeowners Association" was formed unifying the two organizations. It included property owners in the Lakeside, San Souci, Saunders-Taylor tracts and that portion of the McKinney Tract extending from South Street to the northern boundary of Ski Run Boulevard.

I don't have any details on the compromise, but I think the non-lakefront owners were given rights/ownership to parcels at the end of Silver, Oak and Fern streets and the lakefront owners got rights/ownership to the beaches in front of their properties.

The Feb., 2006 Homewood Home Owners Association minutes state:
"Mr. Topol is also interested in providing assistance to the Association relative to validating the title to our beach parcels."

These are parcels at the end of Silver, Oak and Fern (some parking) Streets. As of Spring 2007 the Home Owners Assn. still needed official parcel numbers for these tracts to apply for permits for buoys on the lake.

In the spring of 2007 Mr. Topol promised to contribute $100,000 to the Homewood Home Owners Association for development of public beach access in the Homewood area, for their support of his revised plan (6 units instead of 9) for the expansion of "Villas at Harborside".

In 2010 the lakefront homeowners hired an attorney to work on the issue and he concluded the same as the Royal Miller Case.


Links:
Homewood Development
Homewood Home Owners Association
Chambers Landing, The Original Boat Bar at TahoeQuarterly.com
North Lake Tahoe Historical Society - Exhibits - Including copies of pictures like the Homewood Resort above
Old Homewood newsletters at Homewood Mountain Resort
Obexer's story | From Bozen to Boating | Alison O. Bender
Meet Your Merchant: A century of memories at Obexer's Boat Company | SierraSun.com

Sources:
Sierra Sun interview of Rick Brown, Huff's Grandson, who was hired as VP of JMA in 2007
1. "The Saga of Lake Tahoe", Edward Scott, Vol. I 1957, Vol. II 1973
Ray Perryman, a local historian.
About Obexer's Boat Company


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last updated 15 July 2011