Norma and the Eagle Lake Question

Norma at Eagle Lake. Courtesy of Wyn Wachhorst
What would Eagle Lake be like if it were not for Norma? It is something that crossed my mind as I scan the Gallatin photograph collection. Norma Virginia Harvey was born in 1910 at San Francisco, the only grandchild of Malvena Gallatin. It was because of Norma, that Malvena built the first summer home at Eagle Lake in 1913, which she dubbed the Cedar Lodge, but is better known as Gallatin House. For the remainder of that decade the extended Gallatin clan were frequent visitors at Eagle Lake. At that the time the house was constructed Eagle Lake kept rising to historic high levels and this troubled Malvena. After all, a portion of her timberland along the lakeshore was flooded. In 1914, she invited a civil engineer by the name of Leon Bly to Eagle Lake to see about reviving the failed attempts to tap Eagle Lake for irrigation, that at the same time would regulate the level of the lake. Bly’s tunnel and a twenty year drought would greatly reduce the water level of the lake. By the 1920s, the Gallatin’s visits were few and far between. In the 1930s, Malvena attempted to sale her Eagle Lake property to a developer, but it failed due to the low water level of the lake. In 1944, Norma passed away, and that Christmas Malvena returned to Cedar Lodge for the last time. In 1946, Malvena sold all of her Eagle Lake holdings except for her summer home that eventually would be given to Norma’s son. Thus, Norma’s birth led to an interesting chain of events at Eagle Lake.


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