Located inside Emerald Bay State Park, Vikingsholm is one of the best examples of Scandinavian Architecture in the United States. Here you can tour the grounds and learn about the lifestyle and inhabitants of this striking home and the lifestyle of Lake Tahoe’s upper class residents in the early 1900’s.
Emerald Bay is home to one of the first summer homes built in Lake Tahoe. Ben Holiday – a transportation king – constructed his home here in the late 1860’s. After changing hands a number of times, this parcel of land ended up being purchased by Mrs. Lora J. Knight. Mrs. Knight wanted to build a home that complimented the natural surroundings while honoring traditional Scandinavian architecture. Vikingsholm was completed in 1929 and still remains one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States today.
Lora J. Knight: Mr.s Knight was born in 1864. Her father, Edward A. Small was a corporate lawyer who accepted two brothers, James and William Moore into his law firm. These young men eventually married two of Edwards daughters including Mrs. Knight and gained controlling interest in a number of large companies including Union Pacific, National Biscuit Continental Can, Diamond Match, and Rock Island Railroad.
Mr. Moore died in 1912 and in the early 1920’s Lora married Harry French Knight. The marriage was not successful and they divorced prior to building Vikingsholm. While Mrs. Knight is most well known for her part in building Vikingsholm, she was also a large contributor to youth groups in both California and Nevada. She also was one of the prime benefactors of Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic.
Construction: Mrs. Knight commissioned her nephew by marriage Lennart Palme to build Vikingsholm. She was impressed by his design of his own home which was inspired by Scandinavian architecture. Because of her admiration of his home and the fjord like location of Emerald Bay, she decided to have her summer home built with a Scandinavian Design.
The foundation was laid in 1928 and the home was finished in 1929. The incredible features of the Vikingholm home include granite boulders embedded in mortar, massive hand hewn timbers characteristic of those used by early Norsemen, carvings around the doors adapted from those bordering old churches and carvings along the roof ridges with dragon heads crossing at the peaks.
* Vikingsholm is only open to visitors during the summer months (May – September). Check their website for exact opening and closing dates.
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