Today Serene Lakes is a community made up mostly of second homes surrounding the 2 lakes that comprise Serene Lakes, BUT it does have an interesting history.
Our two lakes which are joined together are called Lake Dulzura (the southern lake) and Lake Serena (the northern lake). It has been said that they were named by none other than Mark Twain!
Back in the “old days” wagon trains heading for California came right through today’s Serene Lakes basically following the route of Pahatsi Road out past the subdivision, past Kidd and Cascade Lakes, and down to Big Bend which is an exit on I-80.
The lakes were discovered during the building of the railroad. The first settler was Fitz William Redding Jr. who settled in 1866. He built a small cabin about where Lake Drive and Hemlock Drive intersect. He brought fish up and stocked the lakes. When Fitz died his family kept the land and started up the Summit Ice Co. on Ice Lakes about 1870. The ice house sat about where the boat ramp at Sierra Road is today. Ice was hauled to the railroad to keep drinks cold in San Francisco. We get an average of 34 feet of snow each winter. That was too much for successful ice harvesting so the company went down to Truckee where it’s colder and there is less snow.
Another important figure in the history of our area was Mark Hopkins of San Francisco. He was one of the Big 4 who built the railroad. He built an estate six miles down the road from the south end of Serene Lakes near an area called the Cedars. To please his wife, he also built a hotel (Summit Soda Springs) for her society friends. It became “the” place to spend time during the summer. The stagecoach connected the railroad station at Soda Springs Station (which is the condo complex at the flashing yellow light as you come in to Serene Lakes) with the hotel.
In the 1940s Ice Lakes Chalet was built as a lodge with cabins at the southern end of the lakes. There was also a camp ground. Our existing development was laid out in 1946.