A couple of weekends ago, I was up at Lake Tahoe and spent some time at the Thunderbird Lodge. It was a little jaunt back in time to see one of the last and perhaps best examples of Lake Front estates built by the grand old San Francisco society members before World War II.
George Whittell Jr. was one of California's most notorious playboys and was famous for his exploits with women, fast cars and fast boats. He collected women and wild animals, many of which he kept on his estate. It would only follow that he had a penchant for gambling. The Card Room at the Thunderbird Lodge was built to entertain the "boys of summer" with card games and those women I mentioned. It is one of the few Card Rooms still in existence on the Lake.
George had a clever communication system in place to let the boys know when the coast was clear for a card game, or when to stay away when the wife was in residence. He had a series of lights installed on the chimney of the main house. When it was game night, the light was green. When the wife was home, the red light would show across the Lake. Clever pre-texting system, no?
The Card Room has two huge stone fireplaces, one at each end of the room. There are leaded glass windows and exposed beam ceilings. One of the most striking additions to the decor is the massive Elk trophy. It is believed to have come from New Zealand, so it has been suspected that George may have won it in one of his card games.
I am sure that George had his share of winnings......
For you curious George fans, click on over HERE for more stories about George Whittell's infamous past.
And now for another winner!
I am happy to announce the winner of Barry Dixon's latest book:
Linda in AZ!!!