South Lake Tahoe wraps up 50th anniversary |

South Lake Tahoe wraps up 50th anniversary

Jack Barnwell
South Lake Tahoe council member Austin Sass cuts the cake commemorating the city's 50th anniversary during a small ceremony on Monday, Nov. 30, at Lake Tahoe Airport.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — After a year of open houses, commencements and a celebration gala, the city of South Lake Tahoe wrapped up its 50th anniversary of incorporation on Monday, Nov. 30, with a small gathering.

More than 50 residents and city staff packed the council chambers at Lake Tahoe Airport to celebrate and reflect on South Lake Tahoe’s history.

“There’s something in the world that’s younger than me,” joked city councilman Tom Davis.

Davis said he came to South Lake Tahoe in 1971 for the ski season and never left. In that time, he saw the city grow as he established roots in the community.

“To celebrate 50 years is quite a tribute to our community and our citizens,” Davis said.

South Lake Tahoe was incorporated in 1965 following a general election. Voters also selected South Lake Tahoe over Lake Tahoe as the city’s name by 100 votes.

Davis noted that the book the city put together for its 50th anniversary represented a thorough snapshot of the progress the city made.

“There has been a tremendous amount of change in our town, and I think people are really proud of what is happening in the community,” Davis said.

Nancy Kerry, South Lake Tahoe’s city manager, said the process was remarkable.

“People decided to vote, and then all of a sudden we were a city,” she said.

According to Tracy Franklin, the city’s public information officer, the city is planning a time capsule.

“The plan is to have the capsule incorporated into the redesign on the airport lobby’s design, which is anticipated sometime in 2016,” Franklin said.

South Lake Tahoe resident Martin Hollay said the city has made progress since its incorporation. Hollay first came to the area in 1957 for the ski season and eventually established a glove-making business.

He recalled when Ski Run Boulevard wasn’t entirely paved and when some of the casinos at Stateline, Nevada, were only one story high.

“There was a time when I thought it would stay the same, but that didn’t happen,” Hollay said. “It just grew up.”

That growth included a population increase.

Hollay said he saw the population grow from 14,000 during the summer season to its current rate, at more than 21,000.

“That’s a big change,” he said.

For more information on the city’s 50th anniversary, visit

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