Early days of the club: Summer Playground for the Well-Heeled ...
The turn of the century saw tourists and summer residents come to Tahoe in increasing numbers. As the 1900s grew up into its teens and twenties, many San Francisco families discovered the beauty of Lake Tahoe's sapphire waters and the surrounding pine-covered mountains.
Naturally, those summering in Tahoe joined together for holiday boating gatherings, and in the midst of these social functions the wooden boat tradition was born. Burnished mahogany hulls appointed with gleaming chrome became the "must-have" status symbol for the social elite, and several boat dealerships including Chris Craft, Gar Wood, and Century established a brisk trade along the shores of Tahoe.
Tahoe Yacht Club: Established 1925
Predictably, racing became a favorite pastime, and enthusiasm for some sort of organized competition spurred a handful of gentlemen and a few ladies, many of whom were members of the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, to form the Tahoe Power Boat Club (later to become Tahoe Yacht Club) in 1925. It was an illustrious bunch: among the founding members were prominent names including Newhall, Ehrman, Metcalf, Townsend, Dollar, Fleishacker, Scott, Kendrick, Pope, and others.
At the helm was Edwin Letts Oliver, a brilliant San Francisco businessman who was chosen as the club's first Commodore. "At the time, the club's headquarters was a file drawer in Oliver's San Francisco office," says R. Randolph (Randy) Walker, who has been a "member" of Tahoe Yacht Club since the day he was born in 1933. "The first facility was a picnic area on the Ehrman Family's grounds (now Sugar Pine State Park) and a pier which was only big enough to accommodate two large Gar Woods," remembers Walker.
The first casual contests grew in popularity, and soon the typical summer agenda included several regattas, attracting large crowds of spectators. The Club quickly increased its membership through the years and added new events to its calendar, including water ski carnivals (complete with a reigning Queen), Junior Outboard Regattas, sailing regattas, and, beginning in 1972, the Concours d'Elegance.