During a visit to Emerald Bay, Lora J.M. Knight was reminded of a Norwegian fjord. The rest is rich Lake Tahoe history!
In 1928, Knight—who had married into jaw-dropping wealth—purchased 200 acres on the lake. She then hired her nephew, Swedish-born architect Lennart Palme, to build her a summer home that would combine the architectural styles of Scandinavian castles and churches.
More than 200 workers were required to transform Knight’s vision—and Palme’s blueprints—into what is now called Vikingsholm. It’s a magnificent 38-room stone castle. And you can visit it (it’s a mile walk from the parking area, and somewhat steep, so be prepared) during the warmer weather.
It’s worth your time. You’ll learn how workers used local timber for the building’s ornate carvings. You’ll see the locally-quarried stone which forms the building’s impressive walls, towers, and turret. Check out the amazing sod roofs—with living grass and flowers!
When you visit Vikingsholm, you’ll see how Knight scoured Scandinavia for authentic 18th and 19th century furnishings from farmsteads and churches—and then had workers reproduce others, which she couldn’t acquire (since some were forbidden for export by European governments), from antique drawings!
One last thing to look for when you visit Vikingsholm: The entire place was constructed without disturbing a single tree. It’ll make you wonder “How’d they do that?”