English tea remains a festival tradition | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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English tea remains a festival tradition

Kate MacLean, Forest Service exhibits intern

The Great Gatsby Tea is a traditional high tea served on the terrace in front of the Pope House. The event will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday and will wind up the weekend’s 1920s and ’30s-era festivities.

The tea, which has been organized by Barbara Riley, coordinator, and Emily Craven, Tallac Historic Site intern, is designed in imitation of one that wealthy summer vacationers to the Pope residence would have enjoyed. China and silver brought from the homes of each table’s hostess will adorn each of the 12 tables at which 10 guests will sit. Most of the floral centerpieces will be provided by the hostesses, although some have been donated by Enchanted Florist and Harveys Florist.

Onlookers watching the tea, with its costumed guests and maids, will have an opportunity to view a fashion show of 1920s and 1930s designs on the steps of the Pope House porch. Designs are provided courtesy of Deborah Rush.



The Pope House, around which Great Gatsby Festival activities are centered, was first built overlooking the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. It was near an area developed by pioneer “Yank” Clement and investor and resort developer Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin, who had a knack for drawing wealthy vacationers to Lake Tahoe. George Payne Tallant, a San Francisco banker, purchased the property from Baldwin and built a segment of the main house. Five years after its original purchase by Tallant, the estate was owned and managed by banker and financier Lloyd Tevis and his family until 1913.

Lucky Baldwin developed the area, complete with casino and hotel, as a playground for the wealthy. But, once it was deeded to lumbering and shipping giant George Pope in 1923, the land was used instead as a family refuge. The property became known as the Vatican Lodge, in reference to the family name. People who visited the estates in the 1920s and 1930s, the era recreated for the Great Gatsby Festival, knew it as a quiet place to relax in the summer and where they could follow a simple routine while vacationing. Parties of the 10 or 12 guests would visit at a time and spend their time at the beach and hiking in the nearby Sierra.


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