Between Maggie’s and Phipps’ Peaks the rocky masses are broken down into irregular, half rolling, half rugged foothills, where pines, firs, tamaracks and cedars send their pointed spires upwards from varying levels. In the morning hours, or in the afternoon up to sunset, when the shadows reveal the differing layers, rows, and levels of the trees, they stand out with remarkable distinctness, each tree possessing its own perfectly discernible individuality, yet each contributing to the richness of the clothing of the mountainside, as a whole.
Down across the lower portion of Maggie’s Peaks, too to 200 feet above the level of the Bay, the new automobile road has ruled its sloping line down to the cut, where a sturdy rustic bridge takes it over the stream which conveys the surplus waters from Eagle Lake to the Bay. On the other side it is lost in the rolling foothills and the tree-lined lower slopes of Cathedral Peak from whence it winds and hugs the Lake shore, over Rubicon Point to Tahoe Tavern.
But Emerald Bay has other romantic attractions besides its scenery. In the early ’sixties Ben Holladay, one of the founders of the great Overland Stage system that reached from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri River, built a pretentious house at the head of the Bay. Naturally it was occupied by the family only part of the time, and in 1879, a tramp, finding it unoccupied, took up his lodgings therein, and, as a mark of his royal departure, the structure burned down the next morning. The site was then bought by the well-known capitalist, Lux, of the great cattle firm of Miller & Lux, and is now owned by Mrs. Armstrong.
As the steamer slowly and easily glides down the Bay, it circles around a rocky islet, on which a number of trees find shelter. This island was inhabited at one time by an eccentric Englishman, known as Captain Dick, who, after having completed a cottage to live in, carried out the serious idea of erecting a morgue, or a mausoleum, as a means of final earthly deposit upon dissolution. This queer-looking dog-house might have become a sarcophagus had it not been for one thing, viz., Captain Dick, one dark and stormy night, having visited one of the neighboring resorts where he had pressed his cordial intemperately, determined to return to his solitary home. In vain the danger was urged upon him. With characteristic obstinacy, enforced by the false courage and destruction of his ordinarily keen perception by the damnable liquor that had “stolen away his brains,” he refused to listen, pushed his sail-boat from the wharf and was never seen again. His overturned boat was afterwards found, blown ashore.