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South Lake Tahoe: Then & Now

This project focuses on providing a fascinating visual comparison of historical sites in the South Lake Tahoe area. While the community of South Lake Tahoe itself has its city limits, it implies a greater geographical focus, thus the project covers a larger area encompassing forestland and sites technically outside of the city limits. Lake Tahoe is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States, and the goal is to present these comparative views so that any reader can be intrigued. The project is educational, non-profit, and designed to provide an increasingly visual library for agencies working to preserve the ecological integrity of the Tahoe Basin, as well as for the general public.


The focus of this project is in the geographical region from Meeks Bay along Rubicon Bay, on the west side of the lake, around the southern edge of Lake Tahoe including the southern edge of Stateline. There are images from Vikingsholm within Emerald Bay to Camp Richardson, almost the souther center of the Lake Tahoe shoreline.


During the summer of 2009, a group of researchers, including Foundation Professor Peter Goin, Research Associate Scott Hinton, Visual Research Associate Megan Berner, and two student researchers visiting from other universities on a grant from the National Science Foundatoin, set up a field camp in the Lake Tahoe Basin which served as their base while they searched for the contemporary views of the images that had been culled from historical societies.

While the opportunities for rephotography depend on the visual record, there are numerous images within South Lake Tahoe that provide a new vision of the nature and character of the city as a place, unto itself. The airport at South Lake Tahoe is a part of transportation history, yet little is truly known about this history. Although most of the earlier visitors to Lake Tahoe experienced the lake via steamers, or water transport, the modern-era visitor is more acquainted with Lake Tahoe's beauty via the automobile. Images from the early California Transportation Department's development of the South Lake Tahoe region.

Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination, above all else, Camp Richardson, the Tahoe Keys (an early site for fisheries, now defunct), Tahoe Valley, Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, Fallen Leaf Lake, Eagle Falls... are all heavily visited areas that have a fascinating cultural history. The transformation to a thoroughly recreational landscape is part of the lore of Lake Tahoe, for better or for worse. An interesting point that will be made is how much of the Tahoe landscape has been preserved, particularly after the rise of the second- and third-growth forests have blanketed the terrain.

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