Prior to the popularity of the personal motorcar, the main means of transportation into the Lake Tahoe basin was by stagecoach, wagon or carriage.
In 1868 the tracks of the Central Pacific Railroad reached Truckee, which later would be connected to Tahoe City by a narrow gauge railroad. This resulted in development of summer resorts at the north end of the Lake, but not the south.
The southern end of Lake Tahoe was still only connected to the outside world by the roads that had carried the emigrants into California, the freight from Sacramento to Virginia City and, at one time were the route of the riders of the short-lived Pony Express. Because of this traffic some inns, along with eating and drinking establishments had been built along these roads (mostly along the old road, which is now Pioneer Trail) in the middle and late 1800s. Amongst these was one known as “Yanks Station.”
As previously mentioned, the first white settler in Lake Valley was Martin Smith. He arrived in 1851 and in 1859 he sold his way station, which was seven and one half miles south of the Lake, to Ephraim Clement. “Yank” Clement, as he was known, was a renowned teller of tall tales who attempted to retain the image of a “mountain man” by dressing in buckskins and moccasins and letting his curly hair grow.
Over the next few years “Yank”, and his wife Lydia D. Mark Clement, a much more reserved person, expanded the facilities considerably, building a three-story, fourteen room hotel, a stable and barn, larger corrals, two saloons, a general store, a blacksmith shop, a cooperage and several private homes. In spite of the significant reduction in traffic through the valley with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, the Clements continued to operate their station until 1873, when it was sold to one George Henry Dudley Meyers. He was a native of Germany who already owned another inn, Six Mile House, east of Placerville. (For more on Yank’s Station, see Lake Tahoe – Part VI)
Meyers purchased much of the land adjacent to what had become known as “Yank’s Station”, named the area after himself and raised beef and dairy cattle. In the early 1900s, the Meyers sold to the Celio family, who had settled in the Tahoe basin in 1863, when Carlo G. Celio established a ranch south of what is now Highway 50. The Celios continued to operate the hotel and their beef and cattle business while expanding into the lumber business on a large scale. In 1938 the old hotel burned down.