Homewood-Tahoma Area History
last updated 15 July 2020

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Lake Tahoe, including the West Shore, was the summer and fall home to the Washoe tribe for many centuries before non-Native Americans even knew Lake Tahoe existed.
One local resident's Grandmother said she remembered when indians came to the shore in Homewood to sell their baskets in the early 1900's.

Things changed quickly during the mid-1800s. The westward exploration by John C. Fremont in 1844 put Lake Tahoe on the maps.
Many settlers came to Tahoe for mining after gold discovery, but Lake Tahoe basin wasn’t particularly fruitful when it came to precious metals.
Many of the failed miners that settled the area found success logging the forests to provide lumber for the railroad and the Comstock Lode in Nevada (1859-1880).
A couple of these settlers including Jack Sargeant Ellis, a dairy farmer for whom Ellis Peak is named, and Dick Madden who settled along the creek that now bears his name.

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.
192? - Jake Obexer purchases property on the waterfront in Homewood from estate of Walter Scott Hobart, Jr..
1922 - Ed Farmer sold his market to J. P. "Jake" Obexer, but Dr. Farmer continued her medical practice.
192? - Jake convinces Standard Oil to be a partner in building a marina. 1932 - Londen Lee Noonchester, a miner from Oregon came to the Homewood area and established the Noonchester mine behind Quail Lake. But because of delays in getting supplies during WWII he did not get it into operation until the mid 40s. He had assays showing gold in arsenical sulfide ore and established the "Lake Tahoe Gold Mining Company". He sold shares, but nothing panned out. Some think it was a scam.
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.
1960 - 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.
1961 - After the 1960 Olympics Tahoe was becoming a ski destination. Ron Rupp piched the idea of creating a ski area in Home to Don Huff, who owned the hotel.
1961 - Ron Rupp and others set up a rope tow on what would become Homewood Mountain Resort.
196? - The urban legend was "The rope tow was stolen and moved south to Tahoe Ski Bowl."
  Rupp clarified that in a recent interview. When he was called into the service he sold the rope tow to Max Hoff who established Tahoe Ski Bowl.
1962 - The Alrich family, Hellen and her son George, who had interests in the Blake, Moffitt & Towne paper company, bought the Homewood Hotel and ski hill.
1962 - Earl and Marjorie Marr buy the Water Company and form Madden Creek Water Company.
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
19?? - Madden Creek Water re-pipes the area to provide winter water
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 Deeds to transfer Lake Ave. (the beach) which had been considered public property for all of Homewood, ownership to lakefront property owners. See Beach Ownership.
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 - Homewood 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), 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

Rick Brown is a long time local, who as a teenager worked at his Grandfathers Homewood resort, then manager of Sunnyside Resturant, then VP with Home Mountain Resort is now owner of Swiss Lakewood Resturant and Chambers Landing Bar and Grill.
See Swiss Lakewood Restaurant upholds golden reputation | Sierra Sun Social Scene

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.

Homewood History - Homewood Mountain Resort
1889 subdivision map.

Current (2018) Assessors Map

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

Old Photos:

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.
Cultural and Historical Resources | TRPA
Homewood Past And Present-Sixty Years at SKiHomewood.com
Obexer's Boat Company

Beach Ownership.
West Shore Info | Ski Info | Directions | Homewood Map.