Weddings at Lakeside Beach History

Weddings for over 25 years

The first wedding to take place along the shores of Lakeside Beach is unknown, but they have been taking place here for years. With such a backdrop it is no wonder. In 2004 Lori Cramer of Sierra Weddings was approached by the late Zan Barker, then president of the Lakeside Park Association. Together they created Weddings at Lakeside Beach and for the last 10 years couples have been getting married at the current site nestled in the corner of Lakeside Beach. The trees have grown and the arch created by local artist Tim Rice has undergone a few transformations, but Mt. Tallac and the crystal blue water of Lake Tahoe remain to create one of the most spectacular backdrops you can imagine.

History of Lakeside Beach

For centuries people have summered at Lake Tahoe from Emerald Bay to the area of the present Edgewood Golf Course and Lakeside Park Beach. It was believed the waters of Lake Tahoe had great healing powers and the area now called Lakeside Park was an area which increased one’s fertility.

John Charles Fremont and Charles Preuss discovered Lake Tahoe on Valentines Day, 1844. Fourteen years later in 1859 Billy Lapham moved to the lake from Placerville. Thinking that the wagon train connection between Carson City and Sacramento would run next to Lake Tahoe, not over Donner Pass, he bought land and set up shop. Lapham built his “Lapham House and Landing” near the intersection of today’s Hwy 50 and the Pioneer Trail with barns and a corral across the street where Raley’s stands today.The Pony Express rode past the Lapham House between Friday’s Station and Yank’s Station. Lapham House was a 12 room hotel along with a saloon. The Landing was located where Lakeside Marina is today.

By 1873, Billy Lapham had over 700 acres in the South Lake Tahoe area along with the Lakeside Park wharf. He decided to lease out the Lapham House and take a mortgage from Mrs. A. Marion Hill of San Francisco so he could build a steamer ship, the Governor Stanford which would dock at the Lakeside Park Pier off Lakeside Park Beach.

The name of the hotel was changed to Carney’s Stateline House and operated until 1876 when it burned down, and as a result Billy defaulted on his loan to Mrs. Hill. She foreclosed, taking over his land and the remaining buildings. Her husband, E. B. “Starvation” Smith then rebuilt the house and named it “Lakeside House”. Smith also re-named the area Lakeside Park and the Smith-Hill holdings were almost 1,000 acres. Throughout this time they thought they were located in Nevada and that the stateline ran through the dining room of Lakeside House. In 1899 a new survey found the line to be 2000 feet North and the Lakeside House was not in Nevada but in California. The stateline is still in this 1899 location today next to Harvey’s and Harrah’s Casinos.

A post office opened in the west wing of Lakeside House in June, 1901. Also, a large building to the west of the house was used for community gatherings and dances. The area bordered by Park Avenue, Hwy 50, Stateline Blvd.and the Lake was subdivided in 1909 into home size lots and offered for sale as campsites.

By 1913, the Lakeside Park Company operated a hotel and surrounding campgrounds. Mrs. Hill built a summer house where “Tahoe Tom’s” is presently located. It is said she truly loved her time at the lake.

Campsites in Lakeside Park were still being sold for $75 in the late 1920’s and a big selling point was that all but the last 61 miles of road were paved from the San Francisco area. You could also have chosen to fly to Lakeside Park as early as 1921 as planes landed near where the Edgewood Golf Course is today.

The property owners in Lakeside Park incorporated in 1938 in order to form a water company, improve sanitary conditions, improve the beach, install fire hydrants and create recreational facilities as needed for the owners. The non profit corporation called Lakeside Park Association was established June 25, 1938. For more information regarding the water company go to Lakeside Water Company

While the summer months provided boating, fishing and hiking recreation, the winter months brought sking. The first ski resort in the Tahoe basin was built at the North shore in 1924 at Tahoe City. The first ski area at South Lake Tahoe began in 1947 and was called Bijou Skyway Park (later renamed Ski Run Blvd). In 1955 the lift operations were moved up the hill and renamed Heavenly Valley. As recently as 1963 the “settlements” of Stateline, Lakeside Park, Bijou and Al Tahoe were distinct little neighborhoods, separated by a slow, two lane, tree lined boulevard with no stop lights.

Today Lakeside Park remains a choice summer and winter community with residential neighborhoods, comfortable, pleasing motels along with a modern floating dock marina, Lakeside Beach House restaurant.