Strawberry Highway 50 Cabins and Real Estate, South Lake Tahoe, CA
We know one thing with relative certainty – Strawberry was probably not named for the fruit.
However, beyond that the origin of this community’s name is in historical dispute. Several stories compete for the naming rights.
Sources generally agree on Strawberry as a Pony Express station, and it appears on the 1861 Overland Mail Company contract as a station. In 1856, two merchants named Swift and Watson began operating the Strawberry Valley House as a hostelry. The name may or may not have been a reference to the wild edible fruit. In 1859, I.F. Berry managed station operations at Strawberry, and he established a partnership with another recent arrival named Swan to build a road over the mountain. Berry also served as the station keeper when the Pony Express began. One story suggests the station’s name, Strawberry, came from Berry’s alleged practice of feeding travelers’ horses with straw, while the owners had paid for hay. Yet another story indicates that Berry’s lodge featured thin straw mattresses. Visitors would call for “More straw, Berry!” Hence the name – Strawberry. Today a California Registered Historical Landmark’s plaque at the site reads:
This popular resort and stopping place for stages and teams of the Comstock, established by Swift and Watson in 1856, became a remount station of the California Overland Pony Express on April 4, 1860. Here on that date Division Superintendent Bolivar Roberts waited with a string of mules to help Pony rider Warren Upson through the snowstorm on Echo Summit.
Strawberry today features a collection of vacation cabins and the venerable Strawberry Lodge, which has been in operation at this location since 1858.
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