Honoring Influential Women in North Lake Tahoe this Women’s History Month – NTCA
Honoring Influential Women in North Lake Tahoe this Women's History Month

Fri | Mar 8, 2024

Honoring Influential Women in North Lake Tahoe this Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, NTCA is highlighting influential women and their contributions to North Lake Tahoe. Learn more about these incredible women here on our blog or follow along with the series on Instagram.

Dat-So-La-Lee, Champion of Washoe Basketry

Dat-So-La-Lee (1829–1925), American name Louisa Keyser, was more than a basket weaver; she was a cultural icon and trailblazer for the Washoe people, leaving her mark not only on her homeland but also on the serene beauty of Lake Tahoe. Born as Dabuda near Sheridan in Carson Valley, Dat-So-La-Lee’s intricate baskets, known as degikup, captured the essence of Washoe heritage.

Despite facing numerous challenges and personal losses, Dat-So-La-Lee’s dedication to her craft never wavered. Her baskets, sought after for their exquisite craftsmanship and storytelling symbolism, found their way to museums across the nation, including the Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City.

From her classical weaving phase to her innovative designs, Dat-So-La-Lee’s legacy continues to inspire generations, reminding us of the rich cultural tapestry woven into the fabric of Lake Tahoe’s history. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s honor the pioneering spirit of Dat-So-La-Lee and recognize her invaluable contributions to Washoe culture and heritage.

Photo: Gatekeeper’s Museum

Anne Brigman, Trailblazer of the Sierra Nevada

Anne Brigman (1869–1950) was not just a photographer; she was a fearless pioneer who shattered gender norms in the male-dominated field of photography. Against societal expectations, she boldly ventured into the rugged landscapes of the Sierra Nevada, armed with her camera and a vision. Through her lens, Brigman captured the raw beauty of nature and the human form, challenging the conventional portrayal of women in art. Her daring self-portraits, often set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Sierra, celebrated the strength and resilience of womanhood. Brigman’s trailblazing spirit continues to inspire generations of women to fearlessly pursue their passions and carve their own paths.

Photo: Gatekeeper’s Museum

Myrtle Huddleston’s Aquatic Triumphs

In 1931, Mrs. Myrtle Huddleston made waves as the world’s champion endurance swimmer among women, showcasing unparalleled determination and resilience. Despite taking her first swimming lesson just five years prior, Mrs. Huddleston achieved remarkable feats, including swimming 36 miles across Catalina Channel in 20 hours and 42 minutes and winning the ocean championship at Del Ray Beach, Fla., with a swim lasting 31 hours and 18 minutes.

Venturing to Lake Tahoe, Mrs. Huddleston faced the challenges of high altitude and icy mountain spring waters, yet remained undeterred. Clad in an unassuming one-piece bathing suit and coated in grease, she embarked on a 16-mile swim from Glenbrook, Nev., to Tahoe Tavern, Calif. Despite encountering misdirection, strong winds, and physical discomfort, Mrs. Huddleston’s unwavering resolve propelled her forward.

 After 23 grueling hours in the water, Mrs. Huddleston emerged triumphant at Tahoe Tavern, her son Everett cheering her on from a rowboat. Though fatigued and tested, she deemed her Lake Tahoe swim as the pinnacle of her aquatic achievements, a testament to her indomitable spirit and unparalleled tenacity.

Photo: openwaterswimming.com

Tahoe City Women’s Club

This Women’s History Month, we are reminded of the great work done by the Women’s Club of Tahoe City established in 1927. Among the causes taken up by the group were the purchase of fire fighting equipment (years ahead of an organized fire department), the founding of a local lending library and aid to those in need within their community.

Funds for their projects were raised chiefly by the raffling of handmade quilts and holding community dances. These women banded together in the name of charity and certainly left their mark on the history of North Lake Tahoe.

Photo: Gatekeeper’s Museum