John Steinbeck dropped out of Stanford to write his first novel, Cup of Gold – a swashbuckling Caribbean pirate romance which he completed at Tahoe’s Cascade Lake just prior to taking a job at the State Fish Hatchery in Tahoe City.
There, he met and wooed his first wife, terrorized visiting females, bragged of his sexual exploits, shot holes in the ceiling with a revolver, and got himself fired (never to return to Tahoe for the remainder of his long career). Yet Tahoe is just as much “Steinbeck Country” as Salinas or Monterey – because this was the place Steinbeck first struggled to learn and master the lonely craft of writing. With Steinbeck’s once-tarnished literary reputation once again on the rise as a “Green” eco-aware author, his Tahoe years (including his informal biology lessons here at the Fish Hatchery) loom even larger in significance today.
Discover fascinating tales about Steinbeck and other notorious Tahoe characters in Scott Lankford’s book Tahoe Beneath the Surface.
Raised in Colorado, Scott Lankford got lost en route to Stanford University and spent much of the next ten years as a maintenance man, musician, and mountaineering guide at Lake Tahoe. After joining the 1985 American Everest West Ridge Expedition, he completed a Ph.D. in modern thought and literature with a dissertation on John Muir. Currently a professor of English at Foothill College, in California’s Silicon Valley, he has previously served as Foothill’s Dean of Language Arts and was a former co-director of the Foothill College Cultural Diversity Center.