The present community of Stateline
sprawls across the area occupied in Tahoe's quiet past by a pair of settlements called Lakeside and Edgewood. Lakeside was centered on Carney's (formerly Lapham's) Stateline House, an inn built in the early 1860s to serve the flood of Comstock traffic and bisected by the California-Nevada boundary survey of 1873. The inn burned in 1876 and was not rebuilt until 1892, by
which time a small settlement had grown up on the site. By 1901 Lakeside had flourished to the extent of having a post office and a boat landing with regular steamer service. A new survey in 1899 placed the heart of the community a half mile deeper into California, and as the years passed in tranquility, Lakeside became an attractive little enclave of summer cottages. With the scrambling dash toward exploitation which began in the early 1950s, Lakeside property values soared enormously because of the proximity of the Nevada casino developments. It became a clutter of motels, gift stores, cafes, and other enterprises auxiliary to the gambling trade next door in Nevada. Some of that clutter was swept away recently when a number of aging motels were taken by right of eminent domain,
paid for, demolished, swept away and replaced by the modern new hotel you see next door to Harrah's and the base station for the mountainside trams.
Edgewood originated in yet another of the strategically located stations on the Johnson Pass Road, the renowned Friday's Station established by Friday Burke and Big Jim Small in 1860. As soon as a log barn and a shed could be thrown together to accommodate, respectively, horses and men, Friday's served as Nevada's westernmost relay station for the Pony Express. Friday's was home station for Pony Bob Haslem, the messenger whose famous ride -- 380 miles on horseback through hostile Indian territory -- ranks as the outstanding feat of that spectacular organization. Burke and Small also controlled the toll road
franchise past their expanded station, and collected as much as $1,500 a day in the peak months of the Comstock traffic before the railroad. The Pioneer Stage Line used the station as a horse change and dinner station as well.
When the railroad destroyed the lake's roadside prosperity, the partners split their holdings. Small kept the old station and Burke the lakefront land to the east as far as Round Hill. By the 1880s Small was publicizing his "Buttermilk Bonanza Ranch" by reporting tongue-in-cheek sightings of a mermaid "with a fine chest development, beautiful white mustache one and one-half inches long, and a most amenable nature" frolicking just offshore.
Remarkably enough considering the rush to build everywhere along the lakefront, the old Friday's Station still stands opposite the golf course, a small white building in the trees. Its original hand-hewn interior walls and floors are intact. It goes unnoticed by the iron tide of traffic that floods past it each day, bound for the blaze of lights just down the road.
Stateline today is politically part of Nevada, but economically a part of California. Most of the millions who visit the Tahoe basin have driven up from northern and central California, and most of the thousands who serve them drinks, deal them cards and carry their luggage on the Nevada side of the Lake go home to California after work.
The casinos attract their crowds not only with their Tahoe surroundings, but with fine food in great variety, entertainment, service and luxury. Harrah's, and the Montbleu (formerly Caesar's) rank with the finest hotels in the world. Add the pioneering and ever-popular Harvey's and the Hard Rock (originally built as Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe, most recently the Tahoe Horizon) rising hugely up across the boulevard, and an astonishing stage is set -- every imaginable enjoyment within easy reach and served in a setting of incomparable natural majesty.
The 18-hole Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, a beautiful par 74 championship course, is open May through November. Older visitors might remember it as the setting for the opening scene of the television program "Bonanza", of the intrepid Cartwrights riding across the broad green fairways. A little farther on, Nevada 207, the Kingsbury Grade, intersects on the east, leading over the summit to the breathtaking descent into the Carson Valley.