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Historic Tahoe boat to be repaired

Eric Heinz
eheinz@tahoedailytribune.com
Tonnie Pereira brings the Queen of Lily Lake out for display Friday.
Eric Heinz / Tahoe Daily Tribune | Tahoe Daily Tribune

The “Queen” shall sail again.

A boat that predates the Squaw Valley Olympic Games, the incorporation of South Lake Tahoe and most modern local attractions, “The Queen of Lily Lake,” will get a makeover.

The boat was built sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s; the boat’s beneficiary Everett Stanley can’t recall, but what he can resurrect are more than half a decade of memories of the vessel. The Queen is a 14-foot-by-3-foot boat made of mostly salvaged material, though the pine and oak are in desperate need of repair, as its emerald luster has long since faded.

Queen of Lily Lake, also known as “Dumb Dora” after the first owner’s favorite comic strip from the 1920s, was used for various things around Lily Lake, but Stanley remembers how it was used to ferry some of the heaviest objects to help build a cabin.

“In that cabin they had a cast-iron kitchen stove — huge thing — and all the heavy things that are in that cabin … they had to had to row with it,” Chase said.

It was also used for medical emergencies at the lake, Stanley said. He said he lost a finger after he tripped and somehow wedged his finger in the rocks and it snapped off.

“I was in pain and in shock, and so they put me in Dumb Dora,” Stanley said. “It’s sort of the ambulance of Lily Lake.”

Arthur Morgan and a friend built the first cabin at Lily Lake in the late 20s, Stanley said. Morgan’s wife, Edith, who would eventually leave the boat and the cabin to Stanley in her will, would frequent the lake with her friends, Stanley said.

“(Edith) was a nurse in the First World War on a ship in the Mediterranean that was sunk … and she went with the troops walking to Europe,” Stanley said, adding the two met when they taught at an elementary school in Oakland.

The cabin is furthest from easy access points, so it was essential to ship the necessities to the destination.

“The boat leaks, and so the main purpose was to dry her out and repair the leaks and make it look like it used to,” Stanley said.

Sierra Mountain Sports is handling the boat’s repairs. Employees said they will start working on it soon and then finish it in the spring. Most of it needs a new base and a refastening of the floorboards. In addition, it will get a new paint job.

“They had to get it across the lake to get the supplies to get the cabin to get it over there, and the boat had to be very sturdy,” Stanley said. “It was built like a barge so it would float flat and they could row it across.”

Parts of the cabin are made from old steel window frames from part of a high school in Palo Alto, after it was shaken by an earthquake around the same time the boat was built, Stanley said, and the school was significantly damaged Much of the material in the boat and the cabin came from reclaimed objects.

“We’re going to leave it there for the winter, and in the spring we’re thinking of having a cortège, a full regalia in the spring if it’s not a windy day,” Stanley said.


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