Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sidebar: Lake Tahoe's Vikingsholm Castle


Vikingsholm Castle, the 48 room summer home of Lora Josephine Knight, sits at the bottom of a steep, mile long switchback driveway dropping 500 feet to the shore of Lake Tahoe. Born into money, at sixty, and without a husband, she built a castle in the sky.

A socialite and business woman, owning portions of many large companies the least of which was the Union Pacific Railroad, Knight modeled Vikingsholm after Scandinavian manors because Emerald Bay, where Knight purchased 239 acres in 1928, including Fannette Island that sits in the middle of the bay, reminded her of the fjords she had seen while visiting Norway and Sweden. Although the island, a protected nesting ground for Canadian geese and the only island on the Lake, now houses her granite tea house, it was once home to an eclectic Englishman who had built a chapel there into which, as fate would have it, he would never be interred as he perished at sea.

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