Historic site receives $30K in upgrades
Ryan Summerlin June 2, 2014
Visitors at the Valhalla Art, Music & Theatre Festival may notice a few improvements this year when they arrive at the Heller Estate on the old 74-acre Tallac Historic Site.
Upgrades have been made to the more than 100-year-old Boathouse Theatre and the historic Valhalla building over the past two years, resulting in an approximately $30,000 facelift.
The most recent enhancements, made this year, are the restoration of cedar shingle siding on a section of the Grand Hall and the installation of new sidewalk leading from the parking lot to the Grand Hall.
Evangeline Elston, festival director at Valhalla Tahoe, the nonprofit organization assisting the U.S. Forest Service in restoring the estate, said the walkway is a huge upgrade from the dirt and mud path visitors and staff had to use for years.
“These improvements help to give a better face to the organization,” she said.
Last year’s upgrades included the addition of sidewalk from the Valhalla building to the boathouse, refinishing the second floor of the Grand Hall and repainting the trim.
Valhalla Tahoe also led efforts on restoring the old cedar bark siding on the boathouse, which required lead volunteer Bob Sweatt to go into burn areas and strip the bark off downed cedar trees.
“That’s the way they did it originally, so that’s why he did it that way,” Elston said. “And it’s pretty cool.”
The upgrades fit into Valhalla Tahoe’s mission of preserving the historic site and providing arts programming in the Tahoe basin, but Associate Coordinator Carolyn Grubb said the organization isn’t done yet.
Cedar siding will continue to be restored on sections of the Grand Hall next year, along with other repairs.
“It’s continual, nonstop work,” she said. “It’s always something. It’s an old house.”
Several buildings have been rehabilitated and restored since Valhalla Tahoe was formed in 1979, “but a great deal of work remains to be done,” according to the organization’s website.
The site serves as a location for a variety of cultural arts programs and attracts more than 100,000 visitors each summer. Among them is the summer-long Valhalla Art, Music & Theatre Festival, which kicks off June 25.
For more information on the festival or other Valhalla Tahoe events, go to valhallatahoe.com.