Stop #10: By entrance sign to Valhalla

“The Walter Heller family, who had been frequent guests at Baldwin’s Tallac House, decided to purchase the property east of the Pope’s in 1923, after Anita closed the Tallac Resort.  Founder of a successful brokerage house in San Francisco and a director of Wells Fargo, Walter was only 29 when he purchased the property and built Valhalla.  Through a mistake during the survey of the property, the Popes accidentally sold the property that contained their boathouse, built by the Tevises.  They then offered to sell the boathouse with the property for one dollar and had their new boathouse, the one you see on the left, constructed just next to the original one.  The Pope boathouse first housed a family boat they named the Shiek, after a movie starring family friend and 1920s film actor Rudolph Valentino.  The Popes later cruised around Lake Tahoe on a boat called White Smoke, another play on their surname.  The Shiek, given to the U.S. military after George Pope, Sr.’s death in 1942, was used to patrol the California coast during World War II.  White Smoke is currently housed in the Tahoe Maritime Museum’s annex, located in Truckee, California.  This boathouse now houses the Quic-chakidn, a cruiser that took visitors from Camp Richardson around the lake in the 1920s and 1930s.  The boathouse on the right became the Heller boathouse during the sale of 1923.  It has a gambrel roof surfaced with cedar bark and contains nine sets of diamond paned windows, a trademark of the original Pope Estate buildings.  The Hellers spent more time at their summer estate than did the Popes or Tevises on theirs.  Household staff included a boatman, cooks, valet, maids, chauffeur, governess, and year-round caretaker.  Although the Hellers, who had small children and hosted lots of guests from the city, were observed as being more active and boisterous than the Popes and Baldwins, neighbors and residents remembered them fondly.  The Hellers were close friends with the Ehrman family of the historic Ehrman mansion on the west shore.  Continue on the path around the main house.”

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