60+ Years of Fun
Welcome to Suksitupa! Home to generations of Breuners, starting with Wallace and Janet and their three sons, Wally Jr., Gerry, and Don. The three brothers each had five kids of their own so there's a huge mob of cousins, friends, aunts and uncles and great-grandchildren who have all had endless fabulous times up at the lake.
Here's a glimpse of our family through the years, with skiing, boats, jeeps, snowmobiles, bikes, planes and other crazy vehicles all figuring prominently. Below the slideshow, you'll find Don's recollection of the cabin's construction in 1950.
In the beginning....
Alice Wikander was my 4th grade teacher at Havens School in Piedmont. She and her husband, Victor (right), were good friends who had built a beautiful retreat with four cabins in the middle of Desolation Valley's Buck Island Lake to the west of Lake Tahoe. Victor was a snow surveyor for PG&E and lived there year round to measure snow depths, getting around on his homemade cross-country skis. We used to take jeep rides there past the Rubicon Springs Hotel over many summers when I was a teenager. They were Finnish, and my mom painted a picture of Victor and his ski poles, which still hangs in the lake house. That's my best guess where its name "Suksitupa" originated from.
1950 was a very good year. I was 14, and went to the first Boy Scout Jamboree after World War II in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. My dad, Wallace Sr., took a 6-month leave from managing the Oakland Breuner's store to work on Suksitupa. Dad bought a boat house in 1949 from a Senator Voorhees (refer to "1909" in the following reference http://donsnotes.com/tahoe/hmwd-hst.html) who had built it in 1918 to go with his house on Trout Street, (now the McLaughlin's). The first step was to jack the boat house up and turn it 90 degrees so the broad side faced the lake (see the four photos near the TV in the cabin's living room). Upon my return from the Boy Scout Jamboree, I was assigned to be the electrician helping my dad and two brothers convert this cavernous single story boat house into the 2-story cabin which exists today. Dad's friend and master carpenter, Scotty Donaldson, was on hand to help. The first thing we did was to to make room for a second floor by literally raising the roof 2 1/2 feet after cutting the wall studs all around the exterior. We jacked the roof up and scabbed in new 2X6 studs to fill the gaps, then replaced exterior siding with redwood tongue-and-groove in a diagonal pattern around the second floor exterior, which you can see today. Next, we framed in the second-floor rooms and finished them with the knotty pine you see today. The original boat house had a huge door at the end, which we turned into a huge stone fireplace. The result is a 6-bedroom, 3-bath cabin with about 2,000 SF of floor area. A boat dock is part of the property, along with a mooring buoy. All of this was planned from the beginning of reconstruction for comfortable year-round use.