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House of the Week: Howard Hughes’ Former Lake Tahoe Estate

Erika Riggs
July 10, 2013

26 Calaneva Dr, Crystal Bay, NV
For sale: $19.5 million

By 1950, Howard Hughes was the richest man in the world, with vast holdings and control over real estate, aviation and Hollywood. He called Los Angeles home, but with billions at his disposal, he also had a few vacation homes as well, including one that he picked up sometime in the early ’50s on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

The vacation home — designed to emulate cabins in New York’s Adirondack Mountains — was created in the 1920s by New York lawyer and 12th governor of Nevada, Tasker Oddie. The home was likely built from timber on the land.

After the Oddies, the home passed shortly to a lord from England, a descendant of the Duke of Wellington. Hughes purchased the home from him and likely turned it into his own entertaining center.

But by the 1960s, Hughes was primarily living in hotels, and the striking log cabin fell to disuse in its prime spot by the lake. When Hughes died in 1976 — reportedly on a plane returning from the Bahamas — the ownership transferred to the Howard Hughes Company.

The Howard Hughes Company held the home until 1995, when the current owners bought the property, and according to listing agent Karen Bruno of Chase International, brought the home into the 20th century. But the overall feel of the home remains — a luxury, rustic retreat that still recalls old glamour of Hughes’ time.

“A lot of it has been kept original — the fireplace, the old logs, the hardware,” Bruno said. “But they did upgrade the bathrooms, and they have modernized the kitchen so there’s actually a dishwasher and refrigerator. Other than that, it’s fairly authentic and original.”

The 2,518-square-foot home sits on five parcels and includes a guest cottage, for a total of 5 bedrooms and 4 baths within the estate. Expansive views of the lake are captured from the wrap-around deck, which also holds a hot tub.


Erika Riggsa real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here