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Event helps preserve history

The Historical Preservation of Glen Alpine Springs celebrated its efforts to preserve the historic site Saturday with the second annual “Dinner at the Springs.”

The fund-raiser began with a “standabout” at the Bernard Maybeck-designed social hall, where everyone had an opportunity to enjoy wine and cheese while renewing acquaintances and making new friends. A dedication of the restored social hall doors, funded by the Tahoe Heritage Foundation, and the recently acquired Maybeck drawings for uncompleted buildings followed welcoming remarks.

Glen Alpine Canyon and its soda water springs were discovered in 1863 by Nathan Gilmore, who was exploring the area and running a summer cattle camp. By 1884 the Glen Alpine Camp had developed into a resort with guests arriving by train, boat and stagecoach. The resort was sold in 1920 to E.G. Galt, who hired famous San Francisco architect Bernard Maybeck to design and construct several buildings. Among the structures are the assembly hall, dining hall and kitchen and the one-of-a-kind experimental bubblestone cabin.



Already famous for his design of the 1915 Palace of Fine Arts, Maybeck and his family had been guests at Glen Alpine and was familiar with the beauty of the area. He was also aware of the need for durable, long-lasting buildings that could withstand the cold, heavy winter snows and danger of fire.

Between 1920 and 1927, Maybeck made plans for nearly 15 different buildings and facilities along with numerous sketches of the grounds and roadway. He chose native granite to build strong buttresses, tinted concrete floor, metal roofs and the popular industrial window sashes and doors of the time.




The use of such durable materials was opportune because the kitchen and dining hall at the resort burned down in 1920. Maybeck’s dining and social halls were built in 1921 and the kitchen in 1922.

D. Robert Fritschi Jr. purchased Glen Alpine with the help of the U.S. Forest Service. He began preservation efforts in 1977 and by 1978 had obtained the lifetime right to use the property. In 1981 he began to lay the groundwork for a nonprofit organization and The Historical Preservation of Glen Alpine Springs was begun.

Following tours of the the site, guests and supporters celebrated 80 years in the Maybeck-designed dining hall with an exclusive dinner in the Sierra canyon. The money raised goes to continued preservation efforts at Glen Alpine Springs, which is maintained by donations from private individuals, grants and matching funds.

Contributions and inquiries may be directed to The Historical Preservation of Glen Alpine Springs, Inc., P.O. Box 694, Glen Ellen, CA 95442. For information call (707) 935-8468 or fax (707) 935-6320. Visit the Web site at http://www.gasprings.org.


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