The Thunderbird: Tahoe yacht is celebrating 70 years on the lake | TahoeDailyTribune.com

The Thunderbird: Tahoe yacht is celebrating 70 years on the lake

Jean Eick
Tribune News Service

Courtesy Photo - Thunderbird Lodge

When the Thunderbird is out on the lake, it turns heads of locals and visitors alike. The 55-foot yacht has owned Lake Tahoe for 70 years. No other boat has its reputation or history.

George Whittell, the eccentric owner of the Thunderbird Lodge, rocketed famous guests around the lake and gave all a special thrill. Oh, if the Thunderbird could only talk, the things we might know.

Whittell built the yacht for $87,000, and according to legend, launched it from Tahoe City on July 14, 1940, in the pre-dawn hours.

Today, the famous yacht is owned by a Nevada public charity, Foundation 36, and still enjoys its time out on the lake. If you are lucky enough to view the yacht on the lake, you will not soon forget the sight.