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Lake Tahoe A Maritime History

Lake Tahoe's natural variety and scenic beauty is legendary, witnessed annually by milions of visitors from all over the world.  While the first sighting (1843) of Lake Tahoe by a non-native was made from a mountain peak, the Lake's maritime history began a scant seven years later and continues to this day.  Although most of the early steamers and barges were designed for industrial use, the sight of a boat venturing out onto the vast, deep blue expanse of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by the majestic clear mountain air, attracted the attention of residents and visitors alike.  After the inevitable decline of the lumber and mining industries, tourism became the main economic engine.  The unlikely merger of gaming and a pervasive naturalist economy, initially described from the water's view, defines Lake Tahoe.  The steamer era, the eccentric row boating of a legendary character, Dick Barter, and the evolution of gentlemen's wooden boat racing is punctuated today by the romantic races of the two paddle wheelers, reminiscent of the lake's maritime gentility.  This is an unheralded history, now brought to life through these photographs.

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