South Lake Tahoe historic buildings demolished
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — After more than a century, Barton Ranch’s iconic buildings — located at the “Y” on Emerald Bay Road — were torn down Tuesday, Aug. 25.
South Lake Tahoe’s planning commission gave its blessing to Gary Midkiff and his company to proceed with demolition on Aug. 17.
The Ledbetter and Mosher families, owners and descendants of the Barton family, must meet certain conditions as part of demolition, including asbestos removal. Work crews from Allied Environmental began removing asbestos from the buildings last week.
Owners will also provide historical documents, along with oral history of the property and the Barton family, to the El Dorado County Library South Tahoe branch. A monument explaining the historic significance on the site is planned.
Barton Ranch’s main house was built in 1890, with additions built in 1936 and again in 1940s. Guest houses were built between 1910 and the 1940s.
According the Lake Tahoe Historical Society’s newsletters, the Barton clan moved to the South Shore in 1915, settling on land now occupied by the Lake Tahoe Airport.
The family owned land dating back to the 1850s in the Lake Tahoe basin, totalling 500 acres at one point. The Barton family later donated large swaths to the city of South Lake Tahoe.
Local efforts to move one or all the buildings from the site have failed because of a lack of funding. The Lake Tahoe Historical Society expressed some interest in moving the buildings, but they couldn’t find an investor. They ceased efforts in March of this year.
Conditions for demolition were set by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s hearings officer after consulting with the California Office of Historic Preservation. TRPA recognized the site as one with historical significance.
Midkiff said at a June TRPA meeting that Barton Ranch buildings were too expensive to rehabilitate because of age. In addition, South Lake Tahoe police logs show the area has become a magnet for homeless people who break in for shelter.
Current plans for the site haven’t been decided yet, but a few people would like to see something like a visitor center, including longtime resident on David Lucido.
Lucido said that while it was sad to see the buildings torn down, he understood that time and money played into the plan.
“It would be a great site for a visitor center … and a good way to honor the Barton family,” Lucido explained.
He added that it would be a shame to put in another strip mall or business complex at the location.
“It just keep seeing so many other businesses that are empty in town,” Lucido said.