Northern California was much different 100 years ago. The developed roads and landmarks we know so well today are just a part of the culture we’ve built as one of the most beautiful destinations on the planet. But in the early 1900’s these destinations were relatively undeveloped, and watching a car drive the dirt roads of Lake Tahoe is eye-opening to say the least.
A historic film has been circulating the internet showing Buggy’s driving on Highway 50 between Sacramento and Tahoe between 1915 and 1930 and it’s a quite different scene than what you’d see today. Highway 50 is unpaved and very lightly used, a different tone than the bumper-to-bumper traffic you’d see from weekend warriors on a Friday or Sunday afternoon. The film also shows popular stops along Highway 50 including Bridalveil Falls and Echo Lake, with plenty of views of the American River.
Finally, the film ends at the shores of Lake Tahoe, with hoards of formally dressed people riding boats around the lightly-trafficked lake.
It’s always fun to imagine what life in NorCal used to be like, all the way back to the lifestyles of people in the Gold Rush and Native American tribes. The above video may be the earliest we can see the area on film, but it can help our imaginations run wild dreaming of the beauty of the undeveloped outdoor destinations in NorCal.