Isaias Hellman and the Ehrman Mansion
Standing in front of the main mansion you can understand the beautiful architecture of this building that the family called the Pine Lodge. Isaias Hellman immigrated from Germany in 1842 as a 16 year old boy who didn't speak any english. He had a job in his cousin's dry goods store, and it turned out that he had a great knack for business and in a few short years was running his own stores. He lived in Los Angeles at this time and because he was such a successful business man people would come to him to borrow money, as there were no banks in Los Angeles then.
Pretty soon Isaias decided that it made sense for him to open a bank and he opened the Farmers' and Merchants bank. Banking ended up being Isaias' calling and for the rest of his life that's what he dedicated himself to. After about thirty years in Los Angeles, Isaias and his family moved to San Francisco so that Isaias could take over the presidency of the Nevada National Bank. Eventually the Nevada National Bank merged with Wells Fargo Bank and became known as Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank, and was finally shortened to simply Wells Fargo Bank.
Isaias was the president of Wells Fargo Bank at the time that he built this home. At the turn of the century, wealthy San Franciscans were starting to discover the beauty of Lake Tahoe where they could escape the fog.
Isaias and his wife enjoyed summering here in some of the early hotels and eventually decided to build their own summer estate. He hired a prominent San Francisco architect, Walter Danforth Bliss, who designed this home, and he bought about 2000 acres of land to place it on. The home was completed in 1903 and the family moved in that July. It was a truly a summer home: it has no insulation and no heat.
Life here in Lake Tahoe was very idyllic; the family came here for the entire summer. Isaias couldn't spend the whole summer himself, because he was a busy man, but guests would come for weeks at a time because getting here was quite an epic journey back in those days.
Mrs. Hellman passed away only five years later in 1908 and then Isaias passed in 1920. At that time his youngest daughter, Florence Hellman Ehrman, inherited this house. She and her husband Sidney continued to summer here until 1964 which is when she passed away. Over those years the house slowly became known as the Ehrman mansion which is what you'll commonly hear it called today.
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