Lake Tahoe's Flashy Mansion

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Ehrman Mansion is a two story Queen Anne-styled summerhouse and is considered to be one of the most luxurious estates in Lake Tahoe. It certainly isn't like the numerous Lake Tahoe vacation rentals that you see people flock to, this building is just another grand example of how prestigious Lake Tahoe is.

It was the summer home of the Hellman-Ehrman family, who used their wealth to build it as a way to take advantage of their wealth to produce an estate that sets standards for the Western Shore, and to give it a touch of class.

It was in 1897 that I. W. Hellman purchased property at Sugar Pine Point and by 1913 he had acquired almost 2000 acres of land. It was here where he decided to build his summer home and called it Pine Lodge. This was completed in 1903, this was considered to be one of the best in the area. It was his daughter who had inherited the estate, Florence Hellman Ehrman and her husband Sydney truly used it as a summer home as she and her family and friends would go there almost every summer.

Huge amounts of topsoil had to be brought in to stabilize the ground when construction started, this was because the main house building was built on a sandy hillside. Granite was also brought in from nearby Meeks Bay and was used to form the foundation of the house, whilst timber was used to become the roof supports. Most of the other materials had to be transported via a streamer as this was the only way to get the materials to the summer home.

The house was fairly modern as it featured technology that wasn't openly available to everyone, most certainly not the poor. These included things like electric lights and complete indoor plumbing, and there were steam generators that produced electricity for the estate, which showed the extent of their wealth as commercially powered electricity wasn't available until 1927. Water was roughly the same as they had to use a ditch and flume system to run from General Creek to a storage tower near the main house, which distributed it to the separate individual buildings.

There were many building structures on the grounds, other than the main building there was a caretaker's cottage by the lake, a children's house that was by the tennis court, a maids' quarters, a butlers' house, an ice house, a coach house, a tank house and two boat houses which were home to two boats called the Jacqueline and the Cherokee. The estate was also capable of gathering its own food in the form of vegetables as it had a patch of land that had a dedicated dairy and vegetable garden.

The 1,975 acre estate was acquired by the California State Park system and they turned the it into a house museum. During the summer months visitors can tour the mansion where they get to see the how they kept the glamorous building in pristine condition to show the qualities of a grand home that has been around since the beginning of the last century.

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Lake Tahoe's Flashy Mansion

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This article was published on 2010/09/24