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Cal-Neva Lodge and Casino

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Cal-Neva Lodge
1937, many additions. 2 Stateline Rd., south of NV 28.
  • (Photograph by Julie Nicoletta)

Real estate developer Norman Henry Blitz built the first Cal-Neva in 1927 to house prospective clients for his nearby subdivisions. By the early 1930s the rustic lodge had become a popular resort. This building burned down in 1937 and was replaced by the present structure that same year. Over the decades, owners have altered the lodge, notably with the addition of a nine-story tower at the lake, but the original front portion of the complex, with its stone and timber peaked-roof entrance, retains some original features, including the Indian Room and the casino. The Indian Room has a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams and a huge stone fireplace. Across the entryway, the casino also suggests a lodge with its vaulted ceiling with heavy wood beams. The building actually straddles the border between Nevada and California; a line extending down the middle of the Indian Room, through the fireplace and then through the middle of the swimming pool outside, marks the boundary between the two states. During the resort's heyday in the 1960s, it became a popular destination for both Hollywood movie stars and mobsters due to majority owner Frank Sinatra, who installed a helipad. In the next decades, the resort and casino had several owners, and by the 1980s, the owner reduced the size of the casino by 30 percent to restore the ambience of the original lodge—a rare event in Nevada, where casinos generally increase in size. But in the early 2000s the lodge and casino went into a period of severe decline due to the recession and the development of tribal casinos in neighboring California. After its foreclosure, Larry Ellison puchased the property in 2017. Recently the tech billionaire has announced an ambitious redevelopment of the Cal-Neva Lodge and Casino that may entail demolishing all or most of the historic lodge and casino buildings, but renovating the 1960s tower and adding a luxurious two-story structure that includes a hotel, restaurants, casino, spa, conference center, and other facilities all under one roof. 


Barmann, Jay.  "Larry Ellison Is Opening a New Luxury Hotel At Lake Tahoe's Cal Neva Resort." SFist, March 19, 2019. Accessed January 11, 2020.

Dowd, Katie.  "Mobsters, Marilyn and Sinatra: The Legendary Cal Neva Lodge Is Preparing for Guests Again." SFGATE, October 19, 2019. Accessed January 11, 2020.

Kasler, Dale. "A Tech Billionaire Is Buying Sinatra’s Old Tahoe Resort." The Sacramento Bee, October 23, 2017.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta
Updated By: 
Ann Gilkerson (2020)



  • 1937

  • 2017


What's Nearby


Julie Nicoletta, "Cal-Neva Lodge and Casino", [Crystal Bay, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 57-57.

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