Despite its ancient motif, Vikingsholm had all the conveniences available in the 1930s, including electricity, modern fixtures and private baths in the bedrooms. Eight years before her marriage to Harry Knight, Mrs. Josephine Moore purchased the land at Chinquapin from descendants of Lake Tahoe timber baron Duane L. Bliss. Support timbers were hand hewn and interior wallboard meticulously hand planed, while metal fixtures like fireplace screens, hinges and latches were hand forged on-site. She was born Lora Josephine Small in Galena, Illinois, in 1864 - one of a family of four daughters and one son. Tahoe has a handful of historic mansions along its shoreline that date back to the late 1800s and first quarter of the 20th century. They traveled across Scandinavia for research and inspiration before laying the foundation in the late summer of 1928 for Vikingsholm. It is located along the shores of Lake Tahoe and each year sees thousands of visitors who come to take in its history and beauty. Search for: Browse by Date In 1928, Mrs. Knight had her mind firmly set on Emerald Bay to build her “castle of the sky.” She gave the … Unfortunately, they were not happy together and divorced after just a couple of years. Von Schmidt chose a site 300 feet above Lake Tahoe on the Chinquapin point, renaming it Observatory Point in anticipation. The sibling entrepreneurs eventually amassed quite a fortune with controlling interest in a n… Her father, Edward Small, was a corporate lawyer who took on two brothers as partners in his law practice — William Henry Moore and James Hobart Moore. Her parents were good friends with Knight, and Smith spent 14 summers visiting Vikingsholm as a child. There was a boathouse for Knights’ largest boat, a beautiful mahogany cabin cruiser named the Valkyrie. Vikingsholm is a 38-room mansion on the shore of Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, in El Dorado County, California, U.S., and on the National Register of Historic Places.. History. By the 1870s Lick was in poor health, but still fiercely determined to build the observatory. Her father, Edward Small, was a corporate lawyer who took on two brothers as partners in his law practice — William Henry Moore and James Hobart Moore. In order to preserve the natural environment of Emerald Bay, Knight insisted that local Tahoe materials be used with the exception of the leaded windows with pastel stained-glass panes imported from Sweden. Her father was a corporate lawyer who partnered with two brothers, William Henry Moore and James Hobart Moore. In the winter, Vikingsholm is quiet. Today, the historic estate feels almost as much a part of Emerald Bay as Eagle Falls, Fanette Island or the centuries-old trees. They visited Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as they inspected buildings dating back 1,000 years. Currently it is used as a hiking trail by those wishing to visit this remarkable castle. Life was good for the Moores, but after their purchase of the Tahoe property, James’ health began to fail. It was built in 1929 and was the summer home of Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight. Boy oh boy…it’s been a while, lots happened, great stuff and fun celebrations. Here's why. Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight chose Emerald Bay to build her castle, Vikingsholm. In 1928, Mrs. Knight had her mind firmly set on Emerald Bay to build her “castle of the sky.” She gave the family who owned the land an offer they couldn’t refuse. The figure the Armstrongs couldn’t walk away from was $250,000, about $3.7 million when adjusted for inflation. One of her marriages was to a partner in her father's law firm who passed away shortly after the marriage. He was a stockbroker in St. Louis, Missouri, and an aspiring pilot. Despite the expense and effort, the tea house was rarely used, even though Lora spent all her summers at Vikingsholm until her death in 1945. Widowed and then divorced, the newspapers at the time said Knight was one of the wealthiest women in America. Or Lora Josephine Knight, who created a Scandinavian-style castle along the shores of Lake Tahoe. In the summer, when guests would visit her at her castle on the shore of Emerald Bay, called Vikingsholm, the butler would row her and her friends across the bay to the island for tea time. She spent 15 summers at the mansion before passing away peacefully in her home in 1945 (and leaving $1,000 for … In the 1960s, the property was vandalized, especially the teahouse, which is now only four rock walls and empty squares for windows. Wildlife have several strategies to endure Lake Tahoe’s winters, Steeped in old town Truckee history, Moody’s serves up innovative cuisine, Alpine wine: Sample vino at one of these Sierra wine bars, All aboard: 5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in the winter. Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker and former freelance writer for Tahoe Magazine. Nearly all of the materials were sourced on site or nearby. The coroner said the cause of death was heart disease, but the night before, Nathaniel was up late at a brothel and had been drinking. The history of the castle and its visionary, Lora Josephine Knight, is fascinating. One newspaper article, published in the Reno Gazette Journal, said Nathaniel was “lavish with money.” He once invited a few friends to Broadway and hosted a $20,000 dinner. Lora was 20 years old when she gave birth to her only child, a son named Nathaniel Moore. The area is home to Vikingsholm, a beautiful mansion of Scandinavian architecture that rests on the shore of Emerald Bay. Finnish carpenters were then brought in to hew timber, while a Scandinavian craftsman was hired to create the intricate exterior wood carvings. HISTORY Situated majestically below shear granite cliffs, among towering pines and cedars, Vikingsholm was built as a summer home by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight in 1929. Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight built a tea house at the top of Fannette Island in Emerald Bay State Park. A curious man, Lick had always been interested in astronomy. Lora had a life-long reputation for her generous hospitality, philanthropy and numerous financial contributions to youth groups in California and Nevada. Helen Smith was a frequent guest. The only island on Lake Tahoe, Fannette island hosts a small stone structure that was once the tea house of Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight, the owner of Vikingsholm. Lora’s marriage to Harry Knight didn’t last for more than a couple of years before they divorced. Her reporting focuses on the environment, public lands, recreation, and mountain communities. But the story of Mrs. Knight and her Vikingsholm stand apart from the rest. Sometimes government officials did not allow these native heirlooms removed from the country, so Knight had craftsmen reproduce them in exact detail, including the aging of the wood and even mimicking scratches on the originals. James Lick, a Pennsylvania Dutchman, first struck it rich in the California Gold Rush and then parlayed his luck into a fortune by investing in San Francisco’s booming real estate market. Some parts of the structure contain no nails or spikes, as a result of old-fashioned construction methods. She is originally from Tahoe's West Shore. As fate would have it, Lora married James and her sister Ada married William. The other was to a stockbroker who she divorced. She had a granite teahouse that resembled a small castle built on the crest of the island. Carved dragon heads are common as both interior and exterior decorations, as they were used in old Viking castles to divide the main room between the chieftain and his most honored guests from the women and children. She also clearly had an eye for real estate. In 1922, Lora Moore married Harry French Knight, a stockbroker. In 1884, Lora gave birth to their only child, a son Nathaniel, who later married Helen Fargo, heiress to the Wells Fargo banking dynasty founded in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Obscure Oakland: The secrets of the sad little windmill on Telegraph Avenue, In mass tech exodus, yet another firm is leaving the Bay Area for Texas, Magary: I tested the dumbest PPE of all time — the Rich Guy COVID Helmet, Everything we know about Ella Emhoff, who waggled her eyebrows at the inauguration, Fingerpointing, outrage after Trump pardons USC father in college admission scandal. It was the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world and for nearly 10 years its telescope was the largest ever built. Lora Small was born in Galena, Illinois, in 1864. The marriage did not last long and they were divorced soon after they were married. The castle was built in 1929 and commissioned by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight, who drew similarities between Lake Tahoe and the fjords of Scandinavia. It was built in 1928 and is now one of the treasured historic landmarks of Northern California. They agreed to be major supporters. Emerald Bay State Park, South Lake Tahoe, Ca.. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the mysterious widow who built the castle at Emerald Bay. But since then, the state park has preserved Vikingsholm, and Knight’s legacy, for hundreds of thousands of visitors who arrive every year. The property passed through two more landowners before California State Parks bought 177 acres, including the island and the structures, in 1953 for $150,000. Impressed by her architect nephew Lennart Palme’s Nordic-inspired home in New York, Mrs. Knight traveled to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland to research ideas for her Lake Tahoe house. In 1928 Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight, purchased about two hundred acres of land at Emerald Bay in the Lake Tahoe region of California. After Edward Small’s death, William and James took over the firm and formed the Moore Brothers partnership. Nathaniel later married Helen Fargo, of Wells Fargo Bank. The house included stables for 60 horses and a bowling alley. Afternoon Hike in D.L. Lora and James Moore moved to Santa Barbara for the ocean air. Most of the building was made from local materials. Some parts of the structure contain no nails or spikes, as a result of old-fashioned construction methods. Timber was hand-hewn, though Mrs. Knight specifically demanded that the footprint of her house be built around the old-growth trees on the property. Most of the building was made from local materials. In Santa Barbara, Knight built a 22,000-square-foot villa on the hillside of Montecito. Laura Josephine “Lora” Small Knight (1864-1945) - Find A Grave Memorial Married secondly Harry French Knight. Its manicured gardens offer panoramic views of the Pacific. Lora Josephine Knight was a philanthropist who valued community and education. Who wins: A Lodge Blacklock Dutch oven or a Le Creuset... 4 alternatives to The Mirror if you want more from your... Our readers’ favorite N95 and KN95 masks just dropped... How a virtual movie club has helped me survive the pandemic, This $10 produce keeper is actually helping me eat healthier, 'WandaVision' is at its best when it's not about superheroes, High West's A Midwinter's Night Dram is the PS5 of whiskeys, This $5 chopper will change how you cook ground meat. As soon as the snow melted in spring 1929, some 200 craftsmen arrived to build Vikingsholm. Before starting construction, Mrs. Knight and her architect traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the house. Read More. Posted on July 12, 2010 by The Morena. Tag: Lora Josephine Knight. Lora Josephine Knight purchased the property encompassing the head of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island in 1928 for $250,000. The Vikingsholm castle greets visitors to Emerald Bay. Original owner of Vikingsholm on Lake Tahoe, CA. The house he created for her is called Cima del Mundo. After a short marriage to Henry Knight, yet keeping his last name, Lora Knight went to work on creating the castle of her dreams to blend in with the bay. Soon after, Lindbergh approached the Knights to fund his groundbreaking trans-Atlantic flight. Our mission is to provide readers with a deeper understanding of the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region. It was first published on this website in August 2018 and is presented in its original form. Lora was the only heir to his estate, which was rumored at the time to be worth as much as $100 million (though Lora told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1921 that it was "nearer one-tenth that sum"). She and her friends would take a motor boat from her mansion on the shore out to the island in the afternoon. A sod roof was installed on the north and south wings, so that grasses and wildflowers could grow. Vikingsholm was originally built to be the summer residence of Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight, a native of Illinois. A sprinkler system was even included on the roof. But Vikingsholm is the house that Lora will always be known for. The legacy of Lora Knight — and why Vikingsholm is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in North America. Impressed by her architect nephew … But in 1910, Nathaniel suddenly died. But his health continued to worsen. Although their marriage was short-lived, Lora and Harry Knight were among the small group of St. Louis, Missouri, businessmen who were the principal financial backers of Charles Lindbergh’s famed 1927 flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris. It was there in 1914 that Moore built a charming lakefront estate that she called Wychwood. Lindbergh approached the Knight’s about helping fund his effort to be the first to fly nonstop across the Atlantic at a St. Louis airfield where Harry, an aspiring aviator, was taking flying lessons. Inside, Knight decorated and furnished with antiques she purchased and shipped from Scandinavia. Knight had derived design ideas from 11th century wooden churches in Norway and carvings from these ancient church entrances were incorporated into many Vikingsholm door entries. Tag Archives: Lora Josephine Knight. First, Huell . I often visit Emerald Bay to go hiking. The locally quarried granite boulders were ferried by barge to the island where derricks lifted them stone by stone. Before starting construction, Mrs. Knight and her architect traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the house. Lora Josephine Knight constructed Vikingsholm in the Scandinavian style because Emerald Bay reminded her of the fjords she visited on trips to that region. Lora married James and her sister married William. Did shutting down outdoor dining fuel Calif.'s COVID-19 surge? From the mountainside, you can see Fanette Island and just barely make out the box-like shape of a stone teahouse on top. Mrs. Knight was originally Lora Josephine Small of Galena, Illinois, the daughter of a corporate lawyer. Their Wisconsin chateau boasted 27 rooms, a wine cellar and a two-lane bowling alley. Lora Josephine Knight’s legacy is enshrined in the magnificent Scandinavian castle “Vikingsholm” that she had built at Emerald Bay in 1929, but her first property at Tahoe was actually located at Chinquapin, a sheltered cove just east of Dollar Point in Carnelian Bay. From FAG contributor Ross Adam Wood Sr. Astronomers suggested that a high-altitude mountain location above atmospheric dust and away from city light would be the best location. In 1873, engineer Alexis Von Schmidt recommended the site for the proposed James Lick Astronomical Observatory that would house the world’s most powerful space telescope. Possible ex library copy, that’ll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. His body was taken to the Moore home, to Lora, in a private ambulance. During construction of the main house Lora turned her attention to Fannette Island in the middle of Emerald Bay. Apparently, she chose the Scandinavian motif because she had admired Palme’s own Scandinavian-designed home in New York. At his 21st birthday party, all of the guests were given pearl necklaces. Vikingsholm was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home. After Lora's father passed, the brothers took over the law firm and together, they became incredibly wealthy businessmen based in Chicago. Here's why. He was 25. Lora Knight filled her castle with original antiques she picked up in Scandinavia. Historic Vikingsholm Castle offers one of the most spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay – one of the most photographed bays in the world. She made financial contributions stretching from Santa Barbara, CA, to Reno, NV, and went toward youth groups, community centers, and college scholarships. - A fortune, a widow and a castle in Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay. He grew up much like you’d think the single heir to a fortune would, but his time was short. After Edward Small’s death, William and James took over the firm and formed the Moore Brothers partnership. Winding trails wrap around the bay encouraging visitors to walk, bike or run the scenic paths. Read our E-edition from your preferred device. The owner, billionaire heiress Lora Josephine Knight bought the land to build a summer home similar to those she had seen on her travels to Scandinavia. It became the summer home for Mrs. Knight and her family for 15 years until her death. Open in the summer months only, this 38 room fortress was built in the 1920s by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight on her property encompassing the head of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island. Hunt also designed the Rose Bowl. Although many people assume that Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight was of Scandinavian ancestry because of her decision to build Vikingsholm in the Scandinavian tradition, she was actually of English decent. Knight spent 15 summers at Vikingsholm. After years of bickering, the Lick Observatory was finally constructed in 1888 on Mount Hamilton east of San Jose. Knight had become acquaintances with the Armstrong’s through church affiliations and after the purchase she would build her majestic Vikingsholm the following year. She’s recalled some of those memories in a booklet and, more recently, as a park ranger. Then…I got sick Dislike. Search. She then commissioned Lennart Palme, a Swedish architect to whom she was related by marriage, to design Vikingsholm. Summer days at Vikingsholm were relaxed, with a bit of structure. Here's how to spot one. And in this episode, Huell visits three of the most fascinating of these rocks. Knight loved Tahoe, and for 16 years she enjoyed her summers at Wychwood, hosting friends and family members, but in 1928, she sold her beloved lakeside Shangri-La to Robert Stanley Dollar Sr., a wealthy San Francisco businessman. Emerald Bay State Park is one of the most popular destinations in Lake Tahoe. Come summer, the hiking trails are full of visitors, and state parks rangers open the castle for guided tours. “Nathan” was an avid golfer and a participating member of the American Olympic team that won the gold medal at the 1904 Summer Games in Missouri. Lora and her husband, James, traveled extensively in California as to foreign countries. The Vikingsholm foundation was laid in 1928; the building was constructed in 1929 by 200 workers. His nationally reported death led to a crackdown on Chicago brothels and morphine abuse. The roof of the north and south wings is topped with sod where grass and flowers grow each spring. It was there she decided to build a structure that would incorporate the atmosphere and design of an old Viking castle of stone construction. Lora Small (Knight) was born in Galena, Illinois, in 1864 of English descent. She purchased the property encompassing the head of Emerald Bay in 1928 for $250,000. For great images click the Photo Gallery just above the map below. For 32 years, the Armstrong family had spent long, golden summers along the shores of Emerald Bay. Architect Palme estimated the project’s total cost at $500,000. lora josephine knight: mistress of vikingsholm by phillip i. earl the three rock point mills at dayton state park by robert l. spude the rise and fall of local newspapers in nevada, 1860s-1960s by james w. hulse exploring the silver state: the oats park art center in ‘the oasis of nevada’ by kirk robertson The horse stable housed 60 thoroughbreds. Construction on the castle began in the spring of 1929 and proceeded quickly as 200 workmen and artisans, housed in temporary barracks, quarried nearby stone and cut lumber. Nathan Moore apparently knew how to have a good time, dying at the age of 25 of “natural causes” after spending the previous night at Chicago’s most famous and expensive house of prostitution. Whether it’s delightful dining options, fun things to do or amazing outdoor recreation opportunities, we have you covered. Breakfast was at 8 a.m. sharp, but afterwards, time was for the taking to read, hike up to the waterfalls or go fishing off the dock, Smith said. Dinner was at 6:30 p.m. “On most evenings after dinner, Mrs. Knight and her guests were driven by limousine to the top of the road at Highway 89,” Smith said. Drugs were suspected. Now part of Emerald Bay State Park, Vikingsholm was once the summer home for Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight. Most of the building was made from local materials. Stones were quarried from the back of their property, where Eagle Falls spills over granite cliffs. She had inherited a fortune from her first husband. To build it, she hired Swedish architect Lennart Palme, her nephew by marriage. It was built in a single summer. Lick leaned toward Von Schmidt’s recommendation, but the dying benefactor designated a committee to make the final decision. Many communities were interested in Lick’s $2 million estate and several protested the Tahoe location insisting that they were better suited for an observatory than the snowbound lake. In 1928 Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight purchased the land that encompasses Emerald Bay and Fannette Island for $250,000. It was paradise, as Mrs. William H. Armstrong described, offering a “safe harbor, beautiful white sand beach, wildflowers, pure ice-cold water, matchless cliffs, mammoth pine and cedar, waterfalls and an exquisite island.” They didn’t want to leave. Then there’s Dario Sattui, a fourth generation Californian who built medieval-style Castello di Amorosa to house one of his wineries in Napa Valley. Vikingsholm is administered by the California Park System. I imagined they wore summer dresses, carried parasols and sipped tea out of fine china, while enjoying Emerald Bay’s glory all by themselves. Before starting construction of the summer home late that year, Mrs. Knight and her architect traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the construction of the house. The items she couldn’t import she had replicated. The Moore brothers had a controlling interest in a handful of large corporations, including United States Steel, Union Pacific, Rock Island Railroad and National Biscuit, or Nabisco. Lora J. Knight Many people assume that Mrs. Knight was of Scandinavian origin because of her decision to build Vikingsholm but she was actually of English decent. Well, we had a great birthday, … Those wishing to know more can enjoy one of the daily guided tours from Memorial Day weekend until the end of September. She built Vikingsholm after the divorce and spent most of her summers here. SFGate - Julie Brown The widowed heiress is Lora Josephine Knight. I highly recommend taking a tour if at all possible, but if that doesn’t work for you logistically, still hike down and marvel at its exterior, as well as the views from lake level of Emerald Bay. Julie Brown is a contributing editor at SFGATE, covering Lake Tahoe. For a birthday present, his father wrote him a check for $100,000. After a short marriage to Henry Knight, yet keeping his last name, Lora Knight went to work on creating the castle of her dreams to blend in with the bay. Pieces of wood resembling spikes adorn the gutters in a nod to the Scandinavian custom people used to ward off evil spirits. She hired architect Myron Hunt, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright. Her first lakefront mansion was called Wychwood and was just north of Dollar Point, where the Chinquapin condominiums are today. Inspired by 11th century Nordic churches and castles, Knight commissioned detailed wood carvings to be placed throughout the interior and exterior. The last time I was here, I was talking about my sons birthdays and 4 July. Palme and Knight traveled to Scandinavia that summer to research the design features that would be incorporated into her Tahoe castle. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places. The widowed heiress is Lora Josephine Knight. This was an era when Tahoe was first establishing itself as a summer haven for wealthy tourists who sought an escape from California’s cities. And, as a friend of Charles Lindbergh, she provided financial support for his flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Vikingsholm was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home. According to McLaughlin, Lora Knight was known for her hospitality and philanthropy. She spent 15 summers at the mansion before passing away peacefully in her home in 1945 (and leaving a thousand dollars for each of her employees for every year they worked for her). Knight had already spent 16 summers in Tahoe before she built Vikingsholm. Mrs. Knight’s Emerald Bay castle, called Vikingsholm, is an homage to Scandinavian architecture. Some parts of the structure contain no nails or spikes, as a result of old-fashioned construction methods. Today, Lora Knight’s Viking castle is considered perhaps the finest example of Scandinavian architecture in North America. Rocks in Water – California’s Gold (803) We’re talking about rocks in the water! In early 1916 they bought a home near Santa Barbara hoping that the mild Mediterranean climate might improve his condition, but he died on July 20, 1916, leaving Lora an estate worth $15 million. EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in the Summer 2017 edition of Tahoe Magazine. McLaughlin says the replicas were so exact, Knight even had the ages of the wood matched and scratch marks on the original copied. I've heard stories about the wealthy woman who built the teahouse on the island. The year before she purchased land in Emerald Bay, she was one of the primary financial backers to Charles Lindbergh’s first flight across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris. His award-winning books are available at local stores or at www.thestormking.com. Lennart Palme said: “The problem of placing Vikingsholm without disturbing the trees was perhaps the trickiest I have had to solve either abroad or in these United States.”. Before starting construction, Mrs. Knight and her architect traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the house. In 1922, Lora married Harry French Knight. In total, construction of Vikingsholm was estimated to cost $500,000. Bars are still open 24/7 in South Lake Tahoe. Lora Small (Knight) was born in Galena, Illinois, in 1864 of English descent. Vikingsholm was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home. Comment: Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. 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