National Register of Historic Places in Washoe County
You could easily overlook this unassuming Craftsman Bungalow hotel which seems like a dollhouse compared to the Brobdingnagian Casino Hotels in Reno and Vegas. You could esily get lost in a forest of twee names like Cal-Vada, La-Vada, Cal-Neva and Ta-Neva-Ho.
The name Crystal Bay first appeared on maps in 1873 when the area was being logged by the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company. The derivation of the name Crystal Bay is uncertain. George Iweis Crystal was the first property owner. Rock crystals are common on the north shore of crystal clear Lake Tahoe.
Commercial development began with the construction of two lodges in 1927, the original Cal-Neva Lodge and the the La-Vada Lodge. Between 1927 and 1931, changes in the laws of both Nevada and California spurred further development.
In 1927, California passed tax laws that prompted wealthy Californians to relocate in Nevada. Also in 1927, Nevada reduced its divorce residency requirements to three months. Individuals seeking a quick divorce flooded northern Nevada. (In 1927, fewer than five thousand people lived in Las Vegas.)
In 1931, Nevada legalized gambling. Lake Tahoe lodges added a gambling component to their business. The same year, the road ringing Lake Tahoe was completed.
In the early 1930s, the La-Vada Lodge was enlarged and refurbished. Single and double cabins were built nearby. In 1935, the Cal-Vada Lodge Hotel was built immediately to the north of the La-Vada Lodge.
Cal-Vada Lodge Hotel was the first lodging establishment in Crystal Bay and remained the largest through the 1950s. It attracted a wealthy crowd from around the United States to gamble at the local casinos. By 1958, the following resorts operated on the north shore of Lake Tahoe: the North Shore Club, the Sierra Lodge, the Nevada Lodge (Tahoe Biltmore), the Crystal Bay Club (Ta-Neva-Ho), the Monte Carlo, the CalVada Lodge (Bal Taberin) and the Cal-Neva Lodge.
Of all the early resort buildings in Crystal Bay, the Cal-Vada Lodge Hotel is the only one which retains a high degree of integrity. Its neighbor, the Cal-Vada Lodge, remains in its original location south of the hotel, but it has been extensively remodeled and does not retain its historic integrity.
Source: Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form submitted in 1994.
When we visited Crystal Bay in March 2016, the former Cal-Vada Lodge Hotel was still a hotel. It was named Border House, owned by Crystal Bay Club which had been the Ta-Neva-Ho prior to 1956.