One of the showpieces of Emerald State Park, Vikingsholm is a 38-room mansion that is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the western hemisphere. The original owner, Lora Josephine Knight, bought the property to build a replica of a 1,200 year-old Viking castle with materials native to the area. Some sections of the home contain no nails, pegs, or spikes. One of the interesting features of the castle is the sod roof, which covers both the north and south wings of the complex and sprouts wildflowers each spring.
The interior of Vikingsholm reflect typical pieces used in Scandinavian homes of the period. A number of original antiques were purchased and others were reproduced to exact detail, even down to the aging of the wood and duplication of scratches. The furnishings on the second floor were reproduced from the architect’s drawings of 18th and 19th century museum pieces. A step into Vikingsholm is like a step back into medieval times.
Vikingsholm is located 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of Lake Tahoe. To get to the mansion, take Highway 89 to the southwest shore of the lake. The mansion is just a short hike downhill from the lookout at Emerald State Park, which has views of Fannette Island. Nearby are picnic tables and a gray-sand beach for strolling.