Visitors important to pioneer life
Special to the Appeal
In the past, I’ve often mentioned Emma Nevada Barton Loftus’ enterprises at Lake Tahoe. She and her son, Chester Barton, owned a resort there called Whispering Pines. The resort opened in early June, closing in late September.
Emma seldom had a vacancy, and many of her cabins were rented for six weeks while wives established Nevada residency for a quick divorce. When individuals needed a witness to verify the state’s residency requirement, Emma attended court with them.
Other people stayed at the resort several weeks or more. These folks became good friends of Emma’s. After she sold the property, many of them visited her at her Dayton home.
Whispering Pines opened in 1933, and from the beginning, Emma worked hard to make it a pleasant destination. Members of her extended family helped her with the daily chores. Although she opened during an era of economic “hard times,” people vacationed to take in beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Glenbrook was a nearby settlement, and had the only telephone around that area. The town also had a dairy where Emma bought milk and cream. If something went wrong that required more help than she could handle, Emma sent someone to Glenbrook to call Chester, who seemed to be able to master most all of the problems.
Emma was never without company. Here is an example of activity on a July Fourth. It is copied verbatim:
“Sunday July 4, 1937
A very hot day even up here. Chester and Helen came up a few minutes this a.m. to see about having the floor fixed in the Virginia cottage. Well, we had all kinds of visitors. Mr. and Mrs. Pradere and Bellireni, Mr. and Mrs. Senci, Camelle Pradere, Gene Longwell and Louie Giometti, Mr. and Mrs. Haines of Carson. Bobbie and his girl and all their relations. Burl Wise and her boyfriend and friends. I am tired out tonight and worked all day. Pete, Lola and Dean was to see us also. Chester brought us up two watermelons and a bag of beer all kinds.”
Later on in the year, Emma’s husband, Jack Loftus, became ill and needed constant care. Emma couldn’t be in two places at once so she had to give up Whispering Pines and let Ursula Hankammer and another youngster take care of business for the rest of the summer. It became apparent she could no longer keep the resort going so it was sold.
The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan Street in Old Town Dayton. It’s also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week upon request and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check outtdaytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.
The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.
• Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.