Fannette Island is a small rocky island situated in the middle of Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California, USA. The island is known for its natural beauty, and it has a rich history that has attracted visitors and explorers for centuries. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of Fannette Island, from its formation to the present day.
Formation of Fannette Island:
Fannette Island is believed to have formed over 2.5 million years ago, during the Pliocene period, as a result of volcanic activity in the area. The island is made up of granite, which was formed from the solidification of magma that cooled and hardened beneath the Earth’s surface. Over time, the island became a popular destination for people seeking adventure and solitude.
Early explorers of Fannette Island:
The Washoe Native American tribe was the first group of people to discover Fannette Island. They considered the island to be a sacred site, and it was believed to be a place where spirits dwelled. The tribe used the island as a spiritual retreat and a place to perform ceremonies.
In the 1860s, a wealthy businessman by the name of Ben Holladay purchased the land surrounding Emerald Bay, including Fannette Island. He built a small cabin on the island, which he used as a retreat.
Lora Knight and the construction of the Tea House:
In 1928, Lora Knight, the wealthy widow of a San Francisco banker, purchased the land surrounding Fannette Island. She was captivated by the island’s natural beauty and decided to build a tea house on the island, which would serve as a place to entertain guests and as a personal retreat.
The tea house was constructed using local materials, including granite stones from the island. The building was designed in the Scandinavian style, with a steeply pitched roof and large windows that provided stunning views of the surrounding lake and mountains. The tea house was completed in 1929 and is still standing today.
Lora Knight’s Legacy:
Lora Knight was known for her philanthropy and her love of nature. She donated large sums of money to charitable causes and was a vocal advocate for the preservation of the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. In 1931, she donated the land surrounding Fannette Island to the State of California, with the stipulation that it be preserved as a natural park.
Today, Fannette Island is part of Emerald Bay State Park and is a popular destination for hikers, kayakers, and boaters. Visitors can explore the island’s trails, visit the Tea House, and take in the stunning views of Lake Tahoe.
From its formation over 2.5 million years ago to Lora Knight’s construction of the Tea House, the island has a rich and diverse history that has attracted visitors and explorers for centuries. Today, Fannette Island stands as a testament to the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe and the enduring legacy of those who worked to preserve it.