The first chief executive to visit Lake Tahoe was Ulysses S. Grant, in October 1879, two-years after leaving office. And contrary to popular belief, John Kennedy’s visits to Tahoe were before he was elected president in November 1960.
It’s rumored he visited the Cal-Neva, which was owned by Frank Sinatra at the time, for a tryst with Marilyn Monroe. However the only documented account of Kennedy visiting Lake Tahoe was as a Massachusetts U.S. Senator seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Besides Monroe was in Los Angeles, rehearsing for the movie “Let’s Make Love,” at the time.
Less than a year after Grant’s visit, the first sitting president to visit Tahoe as well as Nevada, was Rutherford B. Hayes. On September 7th, 1880, he arrived in Northern Nevada along with the First Lady, General William Tecumseh Sherman and Secretary of War Alexander Ramsey.
After a brief stop in Reno to make speech, Hayes and company were driven to Spooner Summit by legendary stagecoach driver Hank Monk. Once there, the group took the train to Glenbrook, then boarded the steamboat, “Meteor” for a trip across Lake Tahoe.
One-hundred-seventeen years would pass before another President would officially visit the lake.
President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore hosted the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum at Incline Village in 1997. Clinton eventually signed an executive order on July 26th of that year, creating an agency charged with management of Federal projects within the Lake Tahoe Basin.