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Lake Tahoe's Zephyr Point, 1938

November 10, 2017
Still image from Youth Regional Conferences (1938), Motion Picture A156

PHS has just digitized two reels of color 16mm motion picture film, featuring the Zephyr Point Conference Center in 1938. Records Archivist David Staniunas visited Zephyr Point in September to deliver a workshop on records and archives, and we'd like to share this video as a token of our gratitude to our partners in the Presbytery of Nevada and in the PC(USA) Administrative Personnel Association Pacific Region.

The PCUSA Synod of California called the first youth conference at Zephyr Cove, Nevada, in 1924; campers gathered in a single large blue tent, which collapsed during a rainstorm. The campsite, including some 30 acres and half a mile of the South Lake Tahoe shorefront, was sold to the Synod in 1925.

Living conditions for youth conference goers in the 1920s were spartan: two wooden platforms were set up in 1926 covered by Army surplus horse tents from the First World War. Worship services were held in a thatch-covered wooden structure called The Pergola. Lodges and conference halls followed, but the site even today is rustic. A 1957 pamphlet by the Synod's Tahoe Conference Commission cautions, "Tahoe has no poison oak or rattlesnakes to worry about, but Nevada's gamblers, who have set up their 'one-armed bandits,' remind one that evil lurks even near Paradise."

Read more about Presbyterian camps and conference centers; learn more about today's Zephyr Point; and visit Pearl for more church camps content.