Original inhabitants called it by differing names: “big water”, “Tahve” meaning snow, “Ta hon” which meant sea or lake, “Da ow a gu” meaning edge of lake. Then Chief Hum Qua had a dream of an eagle that did not speak to Hum, but Hum could hear faint sounds that seemed to come from all directions at once. They gradually increased in intensity: “Ta….. Ta….. Ta…..hoe; Ta…hoe; Ta..hoe; Tahoe.” The words had lyrical quality about them, and were also the names of Hum’s fraternal twins Ta and Hoe. This was deemed a sign by tribal elders and thus the lake earned its name. The arriving white man gave it several other names: mountain lake, Lake Bonpland, and Lake Bigler but in 1945 the largest alpine lake in North America was given by the California legislature its official title, Lake Tahoe.

Emerald Bay State Park
Lake Tahoe, California

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