Living History Day at Ehrman Mansion

July 20, 2017

This only happens once a year. Ehrman Mansion will be open to the public for free during Living History Day.

Here’s your chance to step back in time and relive life at the lake as it was in the 1930s, at one of the most scenic spots along the west shore of Lake Tahoe, and one of our most famous houses. […]

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Living history activities will include Open House tours, a children’s activity zone, an antique car show, live music, hourly raffles and a silent auction, and a wooden boats display. Refreshments will be available for purchase. All events are free, though parking is $10.

The public is invited to spend the entire day at Sugar Pine Point State Park, enjoying the gracious lifestyle that wealthy residents and their guests once experienced at their summer retreats on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Park visitors will be treated like guests of the late Florence and Sydney Ehrman, with many entertaining activities – concerts, historical talks, painting with artists-in-residence and guided tours, all of them free.

The Sierra State Parks Foundation has arranged a variety of educational exhibits. Vintage cars will be parked near the mansion. The Children’s House, built in 1930 for the Ehrman children, Esther and Sydney, Jr., will host a myriad of activities just for kids. Classic wooden and aluminum boats will be on display at the lodge’s boathouse with docent presentations. Historical talks will be presented throughout the park, and guests can enjoy a guided walk around the estate grounds with the estate’s caretaker exploring what makes Sugar Pine Point so special.

Visitors will want to bring swimwear and towels to take advantage of the estate’s beach. A bathhouse is available for changing clothes. Those who would like to picnic on the vast lawn overlooking the lake can bring their own lunch or buy food from the concessions on site, including Hot Dogg and Cheri’s Ice Cream.

The Ehrmans were a wealthy San Francisco family who summered at the lake for 45 years. Pine Lodge was built by Florence Ehrman’s financier father, Isaias W. Hellman, in 1903, and for 45 years the Ehrmans opened the mansion to family members and friends for lavish summer stays. The 2,000 acres and two miles of lakefront beach were closed to the public until Esther Lazard, Florence’s daughter, sold the property to the state of California in 1965.

Young and old will want to tour General Phipps’s Cabin, the home of the frontiersman who came to Tahoe in 1860 to homestead 160 acres that eventually became part of Sugar Pine Point State Park. The cabin Phipps built in 1872 is still standing, and Living History Day is the only day of the year when visitors may walk through it. Guides playing Phipps’s pioneer friends will regale visitors with stories of pioneer life as they work with their tools and load and shoot their black-powder rifles.

Further information and a full schedule of events may be found online at

Ehrman Mansion illustration by Bill Clausen