In 2012, Cliff and Barbara Johnson sold their Webber Lake Ranch, which included sheep grazing, timber management, camping, fishing, boating, and various family cabins and structures to the Land Trust. The Land Trust was thrilled to acquire Webber Lake and Lacey Meadows; 3,000 acres of enormous biological importance and opportunities for public recreation. But, something else of great importance came with the purchase. Something really important; one of northern California’s oldest standing buildings and one of great significance in California’s early history, the Webber Lake Hotel.
Dr. David Gould Webber built the Webber Lake Hotel in 1860. The hotel, just steps from the north side of Webber Lake itself, sits on Henness Pass Road, a once popular route over the Sierra. The hotel became celebrated and entertained guests such as Old Block Delano, an early comic writer, Charles Nahl, an early California artist, and Thomas Hill, a renowned painter. The hotel provided respite for emigrants and miners while drawing hunters, fishermen, botanizers, boaters, and businessmen who enjoyed the lake. The hotel’s true glory days arrived with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Nevada, as a stage stop on the Henness Pass Road, which was a major supply line for the mines in Nevada.
It is not unusual for a land trust to acquire an historic structure, but land trusts emphasize acquisition and management of lands and open space. An historic restoration can be a colossal undertaking for any land trust. The Land Trust plans to place the hotel on historic registers, make the structure sound, remodel the front salon to time period and add exhibits, and remodel two sleeping rooms to the period. We appreciate your support in helping us save a most critical piece of California's early history for generations to visit and enjoy forever. Private tours can be arranged by contacting Land Trust staff or calling 530-582-4711.