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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tahoe City in Placer County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

A Tradition of Basketmaking

Art For the Market

 
 
A Tradition of Basketmaking Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, November 12, 2016
1. A Tradition of Basketmaking Marker
Inscription. Basketmaking is a tradition of the Washoe people of the Breat Basin that dates back thousands of years. Different types of baskets were made for holding water and cooking, winnowing seeds and nuts, collecting and storing food, catching fish and caring for babies.

After settlers arrived in the mid-late 1800s, the traditional Washoe way of life was disrupted. Many skilled Washoe basket weavers began to make fancy design or deh- 'gee-kup baskets for sale to tourists. However, only a dozen or so were considered major weavers.

Dat So La Lee (Louisa Keyser) was one of the first Washoe women to gain recognition for the innovative deh- 'gee-kup baskets she made for this new art market. Abe Cohen, owner of the Emporium in Carson City, recognized her talent and became her sponsor, business manager, and press agent from 1895 until her death in 1925. In exchange for the baskets he sold for hundreds of dollars each, he provided her and her husband Charley with room and board, clothing and some cash.

Summer tourists arriving by train or steamship in Tahoe City would visit the Cohen's "Basketwork" store at the end of the boardwalk near the Truckee River outlet. Here they would watch Dat So Lee make baskets using traditional materials like mountain willow, sedge, braken, fern and redbud.

Her baskets were known
A Tradition of Basketmaking Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, November 12, 2016
2. A Tradition of Basketmaking Marker
worldwide for their exceptional artistry. Today they are worth many thousands of dollars and are exhibited in museums.
 
Erected by North Lake Tahoe Historical Society.
 
Location. 39° 9.998′ N, 120° 8.634′ W. Marker is in Tahoe City, California, in Placer County. Marker can be reached from West Lake Boulevard north of Tahoe Tavern Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 130 West Lake Blvd, Tahoe City CA 96145, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Plentiful Lake (here, next to this marker); Lake Tahoe (here, next to this marker); The Gatekeeper’s Cabin and Museum (here, next to this marker); A Safe Harbor (a few steps from this marker); The Sacred Lake (a few steps from this marker); William B. Layton Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Conflict Over Water (within shouting distance of this marker); Lake Tahoe Outlet Works and Gatekeepers Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tahoe City.
 
More about this marker. Marker is located within the William B. Layton State Park.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNative AmericansWomen
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 22, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 19, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 19, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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