The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society

The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society (NLTHS) was founded in 1969 by a group of local residents intent on preserving the history of Lake Tahoe, including buildings and historic sites. The group incorporated as a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization in 1971.

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The Marion Steinbach Basket Gallery

In 1992, Marion Steinbach's widower, Henry A. Steinbach, gifted Marion's impressive collection of Native American basketry to the NLTHS. The Society then built a modern annex attached to the Gatekeeper's Museum to house and display the collection. The Edward S. Barnett building containing the Marion Steinbach basket collection opened in June 1995.

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Today is About Meaning

Today, visitors from around the world visit our sites to learn, wonder and imagine earlier days of life and the nature of Lake Tahoe.

By understanding the past, we can be better prepared for the future.

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The Gatekeeper's Cabin

The original Gatekeeper's Cabin was built alongside the Lake Tahoe Dam to house the Gatekeeper who regulated waterflow out of the dam. Different Gatekeepers and their families lived in the cabin until 1968 when it was closed. By the 1970s, the cabin was slated for demolition, but with community support NLTHS spent several  years negotiating with Sierra Pacific Power Company to purchase the Gatekeeper's Cabin and surrounding acreage, with the goal of listing the building on the National Register of Historic Places and then opening it to the public as a museum. In 1978, just before the deed was signed, a group of kids playing in the Gatekeeper’s Cabin set fire to the abandoned structure, and it burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. 

Under the leadership of the NLTHS, the North Tahoe community came together to rebuild the Gatekeeper's Cabin. The cabin was faithfully reconstructed completely by hand, except for tree felling. Block and tackle was used to raise the beams and roof, and the rebuilt cabin sits on the original foundation.

The Gatekeeper's Museum opened in July 1981.

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The Watson Cabin

In 1979, the NLTHS and the Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD) purchased Watson Cabin in the center of Tahoe City. The building remained a retail store for a number of years, but in 1988 the NLTHS signed an eighty-year lease with the TCPUD. In 1990, the NLTHS opened Watson Cabin as a living history museum, which is open to the public free of charge during the summer season.

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