Wood was basis of Bliss fortune

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Fortunes of the Comstock Lode were just beginning to flower in 1860 when Massachusetts-born Duane L. Bliss became manager of the silver strike's first quartz mill.

Showing an entrepreneurial flair, he became a partner in the Gold Hill banking firm of Almarin B. Paul, Duane L. Bliss and W. H. Baker.

When the Bonanza was discovered and financiers moved in, The Bank of California bought the Gold Hill Bank.

Bliss looked to Lake Tahoe to create his fortunes. Mining brought with it an almost insatiable demand for lumber, and by the time reserves on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada had been depleted, he and H.M. Yerington had bought up thousands of acres on the eastern and southern slopes of the Tahoe Basin.

The Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Co., and eventually The Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Co., were born.

Cut logs were flumed or dragged to the lake where they were gathered and chained to booms for towing to Glenbrook Bay by steam-powered tugs.

Although first moved by horses or oxen, a narrow-gauge railroad was built in 1875. It climbed the 1,000-feet elevation to Spooner Summit, where the logs were then flumed 12 miles down Clear Creek Canyon to the rail yard. A spur of the V&T Railroad then moved them to Virginia City.

The slopes of Tahoe were virtually stripped of trees to supply wood for the mines.

The company took 750 million board-feet of lumber and 500,000 cords of wood from the Tahoe Basin during its history from the late 1860s to 1947.

The steamer Tahoe served from 1896 to1930. It was built by D.L. Bliss and christened by 2-year-old William W. Bliss. The boat was then later sunk by William S. Bliss right off Glenbrook Bay in Lake Tahoe.


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