Stop #1: Start at the first interpretive sign for Lucky’s Legacy walking tour

“The elegant Tallac Resort created by Elias J. ‘Lucky’ Baldwin between 1880 and 1909 stood at this site.  Lucky Baldwin was a man who epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit of the nineteenth century and the individualism of the American West.  Traveling to California in 1853, Lucky was involved in real estate speculation until he made his first millions buying and selling shares in the mines of the Comstock Lode around Virginia City.  He came to own thousands of acres of land in California, built the first luxury hotel in San Francisco, and was elected the first president of the Pacific Stock Exchange.  He won and lost millions through his lifetime, but his favorite expression was always: “By Gad, I’m not licked yet.” He had a reputation for gambling and for women.  Married four times, he fathered three daughters, one of whom the public only found out about when Lucky left her $50,000 upon his death.  Whatever the stories and reputation he contributed to, Lucky was instrumental to the development of Lake Tahoe’s south shore and simultaneously to the area’s survival for all of us who enjoy the site today.  With a vision, impeccable business savvy, and most likely some luck along the way, Lucky created an elegant resort with all of the modern amenities in the wilderness of Lake Tahoe.  In its heyday just after the turn of the twentieth century, Baldwin’s resort could accommodate nearly 350 guests.  The Tallac Hotel, which Lucky had built in 1899, had steam heating, indoor plumbing, and a glassed-in dining room that faced the lake and sat 100 people.  In 1901, the casino was completed, which had five hundred electric lights, imported French mirrors, a ladies billiard room, a ballroom, and bowling alleys.  The value of the estate in 1913 was listed at 20 million dollars.  However, after World War I and with the advent of the automobile, its popularity and exclusivity waned.  Stroll through Lucky’s Legacy walking tour and read the interpretive signs to learn about the development of Lucky’s resort and how his guests enjoyed their time here around the turn of 20th century.”

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