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Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society Charity Profile
Construction of the Thunderbird Lodge was begun in 1936 by a man named George Whittell, or as he was more commonly called, the Captain. At the time, Whittell owned 40,000 acres and 24 miles of Nevada shoreline at Lake Tahoe and had plans to develop the land into high-class summer properties, a ski run and a $1 million hotel-casino. However, as Whittell grew older, his interest in animals, nature and privacy far outweighed his desire for more money and he held onto the property until his death in 1969. After Whittell's death, the Lodge and adjacent 10,000 acres of property were purchased by Jack Dreyfus of Dreyfus Investments. Dreyfus later sold most of the land to the Forest Service and Nevada State Parks. In 1985, Dreyfus added to the Lodge by building an entertainment room addition connected to the original lighthouse as well as a two-story wing atop the original deck of the garage, both of which are connected by an enclosed, glass bridge. The additions were added to the original design of the property.
The Thunderbird Lodge is one of the last and best examples of a great residential estate on Lake Tahoe from the period in which prominent San Francisco society built homes on the lake. In addition to the main house, there is a Card House, Caretaker's Cottage, the Cook/Butler's House, an elephant garage, the Admiral's House, the Boathouse with adjoining 600' tunnel, and Gatehouse. The Thunderbird Lodge is an example of an approach to architectural design that is intended to be in harmony with its setting. The siting, design and materials of the buildings, landscape features, walls, paths and driveway are a result of this design philosophy. The Lodge represents a high level of expertise in building crafts, stone masonry, iron work and wood work. Examples of this craftsmanship are evident in the buildings, tunnel, walls, steps and fountains. The Lodge is also an example of the work of Frederic J. DeLongchamps, who served as Nevada's State Architect and was Nevada's most prominent architect of his era.
Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society Volunteer Information
Conduct public tours of the house and gardens for guided tours of 15 people. Docent must complete the formal House and Garden training course before beginning to lead tours without assistance. Once certified, docents are asked to lead a minimum of four tours per month.
Assist the staff with conducting special events to ensure the visitor's experience to the Lodge is enjoyable, educational and safe. Volunteers will welcome visitors and answer questions regarding the Lodge and its grounds and will assist with other duties depending on the nature of the event. Volunteers are asked to assist with four, half-day events per month.
Assist the Horticulturist Director by restoring the Lodge's gardens and grounds to their original splendor and to perhaps add a bit of some things new. Volunteers help by raking, weeding, grooming, potting, watering, deadheading and cleanup. Volunteers should be in good general health. Volunteers must commit to a two and a half hour weekly, or bi-monthly shift.
Answer phones, process membership applications, and perform a variety of general office tasks under the guidance of the staff office manager. Volunteers serve a minimum of three hours per week.
Engage visitors as sales associates, cashiers and tour information provider. Work may involve restocking, shipping, receiving, and merchandising. Must do a minimum of two shifts per month.
Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society Donation Information
The Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society is entirely dependent on your donations and gifts to support its mission. We welcome contributions in any amount.