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Gatekeeper's Museum - Lake Tahoe
Camping at Lake Tahoe

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The Gatekeeper's Museum displays the history of Lake Tahoe, including Indian artifacts, natural history displays, stories of its pioneers, and the Ellen Attardi Library; a research library which includes books, oral histories, newspapers, and photographs. Revolving displays are presented each summer from private collections along with permanent reading and photo displays.

gatekeeper's museum

The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society built and maintains the museum and park, dedicated to the preservation, study, and presentation of Lake Tahoe history.

Built between 1910 and 1913, the original log cabin served as the home of the resident gatekeeper whose duties included the measuring and regulation of Tahoe's water level within legally prescribed limits. Five different men are known to have held the position of gatekeeper between 1910 and 1968. Each one occupied the cabin while carrying out the duties of the position.

In 1968, the decision to raise or lower Tahoe's water level became the province of the Federal Watermaster's Office in Reno; however, the physical process of raising and lowering the gates of the dam continues to be carried out on site, using t he same hand-turned winch system employed by the original gatekeeper.

The concrete dam which exists at the lake outlet today was not the first effort to regulate the flow down the Truckee River. As early as 1870, a log crib structure several miles downstream of the outlet was built by Colonel Alexis Von Schmidt, with the purpose of raising a head of water sufficient to flush logs down the river to Truckee mills. Von Schmidt was also author of an unsuccessful scheme to divert water from the river through a tunnel bored beneath Donner Summit, connecting with a pipeline by which he proposed to supply water to the City of San Francisco.

A second timber dam built nearer the outlet was intended as a means of regulating the level of Tahoe, but proved inadequate in the face of record high water in 1907. By 1909 it was partially removed, a new concrete dam being half completed. The new dam was finished in 1913, its completion postponed by a lengthy court battle over the proper jurisdiction of the water. The concrete dam originally included only nine gates but was subsequently extended to 17 gates, the number it has today.

The Gatekeeper's Museum also houses The Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Museum.

Phone: 530-583-1762
William B. Layton Park
120 W. Lake Blvd. behind Fanny Bridge, Tahoe City, CA
3 acre picnic grounds
Open: daily June 15 through Labor Day, 11:00am to 5:00pm
May 1st through June 15 and Labor Day through Oct 1st, Wednesday - Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm
October - April on weekends, 11:00am to 3pm
Donations: $2.00 Adult, $1.50 Jrs. & Srs, age 12 and under FREE

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