We could start the story of Tahoma as a community that was like no other as recently as the 1980’s with its unpaved roads and just out of reach of the gas line. Smaller lots, smaller homes, but then, more than in most places, those homes were lived in year-round. It was a neighborhood of working locals with doable rents for the waiters and waitresses, cooks, snowplow drivers, carpenters, and lift ops
It was a common mention by real estate brokers showing Tahoma to vacation home buyers that it was a ‘bit of a haul’, especially in the winter. Tahoma is about 15 miles from Tahoe City, far enough away to support its own general store, the PDQ with the best sandwich deli around. Tahoma takes you away from the tourist hubbub and surrounds you with Desolation Wilderness, public beaches at Chambers Landing, Sugar Pine Point, Meeks Bay … and, to avoid the ski traffic scrum to ‘Squaw’ Valley and Alpine Meadows, you can choose Homewood Ski Area right down the street. Today those numbered ‘avenues’ crossed by tree and animal streets, are populated with newer homes that sprouted with many local contractors ‘spec’ building on affordable lots during the heady real estate booms in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Those homes now might fetch a million dollars.
There is, as of this date, a back story in Tahoma … an interesting one. In and around 2013 a rather mysterious buyer visited Tahoma and purchased virtually all the key commercial parcels in the Tahoma commercial core. Her purchase included two properties with a total of 26 rustic cabins at the south end; then several acres of nursery land at the north end of the commercial core. Then she purchased the centerpiece two-story Norfolk Woods Lodge with five free-standing cabins.
Nine years later any hope of some sort of renaissance in the hands of the mystery buyer seems to have faded. An early rehab start at the Norfolk Woods Inn was shut down by agencies looking for … permits? … which demonstrated to everyone a lack of local awareness when this mystery buyer began rehabbing the Inn. The story spun out, with some truth, that the buyer was planning on developing these properties as a religious retreat. Her agent came from her church and large cross appeared in front of one of the cabin properties.
Why is this interesting? Because, in 1927 the famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson purchased most of Tahoma’s newly sub-divided lots with the exact same idea … for more on that story check E.B. Scott’s “Saga of Lake Tahoe”. Today Aimee McPherson’s original log cabin sits in front the Norfolk Woods Inn.