“Their names are on the waters and the land, and we may not wash them off.” – Statement of an early Tahoe settler.
The area known as Lake Tahoe was originally discovered by western civilization during the winter of 1844. An exploration party led by John C. Fremont came across this vast expanse of natural beauty in their push west to discover the mythical “Buenaventura River” an imaginary current that was speculated to run from the Sierra Nevada Mountains out into the Gulf of Mexico or the San Francisco Bay.
Due to monumental hardships and the morale boost Fremont and his men received from discovering such a sight, the party pushed west in a hurry to get into what is now the Sac-Joaquin Valley and neglected to give the area any moniker at all.
By 1853, the lake’s exact location was established to a certain point that allowed the brand new State of California’s official mapmaker to name it “Lake Bigler” in tribute to the state’s third governor, John Bigler.
The name didn’t stick, and for years the debate over what to name this beautiful place became a hot topic for geographers and mapmakers across the West.
After a gigantic list of potential names that were tried out and failed, the California Legislature reinstated the name “Tahoe” for the area, and permanently established the area as “Lake Tahoe, California.”
Lake Tahoe’s previous names:
Largo Bergler (The Lake of Beer)