The Blue Agave is located in one of Lake Tahoe’s most historic buildings still standing, the Tahoe Inn. Operated as an inn and restaurant, the Tahoe Inn served the community as the unofficial town hall. It was the home to many service organizations, like the Tahoe City Rotary; the town answering service and message center; a place to conduct business either publicly in the hotel lobby or in private in the infamous “Blue Room”; or a place to drown your sorrows among friends in “Pop’s Corner” bar. There was even a barber shop at the inn where the latest town gossip was passed from barber to customer to customer.
The Tahoe Inn was built on the site of the old Tahoe House which was built in 1868. The Tahoe House was owned by famouse goldseeker, turned trailblazer and conservationalist, Robert Watson. Lake Tahoe scenic locations Mount Watson and Watson Lake are named after him as a reward for his efforts protecting the beauty of the area.
The Tahoe House was rebuilt and renamed the Tahoe Inn in 1876 and sold to the Bechdolt family in 1923. “Pop” Bechdolt and his sons, Bill and Carl, catered the Inn to overnight tourists and hunters as an alternative to the pricey, grand Tahoe Tavern. The original structure burned down in April, 1934, and was rebuilt and reopened in its present configuration two months later by carpenters working ’round the clock to open for the summer season. The Inn has been the home of a speakeasy during Prohibition (serving the best “red eye” in the Sierra at $1.00 a shot), and the home of many famous and infamous guests, including gangster “Baby-Face Nelson” who would hide out from the lay in the Virginia City and Lake Tahoe area in the late ’20s.
From 1935 to 1974, two plaster totem poles from the movie set “Rose Marie,” shot at Emerald Bay, sat in front of the Inn as a distinguishing landmark. “Pop” Bechdolt catered the food for the cast, which included Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald, and brought home the movie props when the movie set was disassembled.There are many pictures throughout the building chronicling the history of the Inn. There are also murals depicting Tahoe City in the late 1890s and other “Rose Marie” sites at Emerald Bay in the 1930s. Enjoy them and the beautiful views of Lake Tahoe.