Stop #11: Around between Twin Cabin and Valhalla

“The two connected cottages, the Twin Cabins, which greatly resemble the Twin Cabins on the Pope property, were the first buildings the Hellers had constructed on the estate.  The family used these cabins until the main house was completed two years later.  A gambrel roof and dormer windows accent the main house.  There are six sets of double French doors leading into the house at intervals from the porch.  The word ‘Valhalla’ comes from the name given to a great hall in Norse mythology.  ‘Great hall’ characterizes the inside of the house.  A main hall, or open interior space, extends the full length, width, and height of the house and is supported with large beamed trusses.  The focal point of the inside is an enormous stone fireplace that spans the width of the hall.  Wedding ceremonies are often held in the open, stone-lined hearth of the fireplace.  A balcony extends around three sides of the upper main hall.  Bedrooms and bathrooms were located upstairs at either end of the hall, and more sleeping quarters were located in a now remodeled east wing.  Built by a local Scandinavian engineer, the house is a shingle and Dutch colonial revival style with a rustic flare.  While Dextra’s main house, which now houses the Baldwin Museum, has a more comfortable feel despite its open interior, and the Pope Estate conveys an atmosphere of wealth and indulgence, the Heller main house exudes a rugged, massive, and almost gloomy mood.  A divorce in 1936 led Walter and Claire Heller to an arrangement in which each visited the estate on alternate weekends.  The estate was sold by the family in 1955, and in 1960, the property was sold to the South Tahoe Valhalla Corporation, which hoped to create a private club for around 125 members.  Although the Corporation spent over $100,000 to improve the buildings, it failed to solicit enough memberships and sold the property to the Forest Service in 1971 for $550,000.”

Back to Stop #11 Audio