Vikingsholm, A Scandinavian Gem on Emerald Bay

A national and California landmark, Vikingsholm is a 38-room mansion on the shore of Emerald Bay. Built in 1929, the American Craftsman stone house gets its unique name due to the Scandinavian influence placed on the design of the home. Its owner, Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight, had decided she wanted the unique design due to Emerald Bay’s resemblance of a Nordic Fjord, and her admiration for her nephew and architect Lennart Palme’s Nordic home that he had designed for himself in New York. She had bought 239 acres at the head of the bay in 1928 for $250,000, preparing for the homestead, and then traveled with Palme to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland prior to building to gather inspiration.

More than 200 highly-skilled workers constructed Vikingsholm through just one summer. The house was all hand done, including the intricate wood carvings, hand hewn timbers, and hand forged metal fixtures. Acquired by the state in 1953, It now stands as one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States.

Vikingsholm is available for public tours during the summer months. The 30-minute, $10 tours are conducted by the experienced and knowledgeable guides of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. All proceeds go towards the restoration and education efforts for Vikingsholm.

Please note: dogs are not allowed at Vikingsholm or on Vikingsholm trails.

Access to Vikingsholm is via a steep one-mile trail from the parking lot located off of Highway 89 or a less steep 1 1/2 mile trail that leaves from the Eagle Point Campground campfire center. Please make sure you are physically able to make the climb back up the hill.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as Creative Resources Manager for RTX, based in Asheville, NC. You can find him hiking the mountains of Asheville, gardening, traveling, and hanging with his growing family. His favorite RTX exchange destinations are Rangeley, Maine, Lake Tahoe, Banff, Canada, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Cape Cod, and Orange Beach, Alabama. .


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