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Bourne's Meadow
Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Bourne's Meadow Photo 1
This lush sub-alpine meadow best remembered of all the opening credits on 'Bonanza' in May 2002.

     Bourne's Meadow is a very lovely 12-acre sub-alpine meadow that rests on the 36-acre property of Singer sewing-machine heir Stephen Bourne and his wife, Nelgene, who have owned the property for over 75 years. The meadow meets spectacular Lake Tahoe's southeast shore at Marla Bay, with 600 feet of lakeshore, a beach all its own, with a private pier and boat hoist. They put the property up for sale a few years ago, asking $40,000,000 and with no takers, lowered the price to $33,000,000, since they already purchased a ranch in the Carson Valley. The meadow was originally part of a larger parcel of land that was subdivided for a nearby apartment complex, which is why there are two wire fences running through the center for many years now.

     Located 22 miles south of Incline Village off U.S. Highway 50, two miles past Zephyr Cove, the property includes a 5000-square-foot ranch-style house, a caretaker's cottage with two bedrooms, and a 5,500-square-foot barn. It is equipped with automatic fly swatters and cameras in each of the 14 stalls, so the owners were able to watch their prize thoroughbreds give birth. Any potential buyer better be proud of the home state: the swimming pool is shaped like the state of Nevada.

Bourne's Meadow Photo 2

     The opening credits of "Bonanza" with the four Cartwrights riding through Bourne's Meadow towards you and then stop their horses mid-way in the meadow were filmed in June of 1961 at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Cinematographer Haskell Boggs would film the empty-standing meadow and later after returning to Hollywood, the cast would mount up on their horses on the Paramount soundstage with a large piece of black felt behind them, for a matte shot.

     The close-ups would be filmed on the soundstage and would be optically superimposed on the filmed footage of the Bourne's Meadow, an optical composite. This filmed opening sequence would be reused on the series through the end of the sixth season in 1965. The last time the meadow was featured on the series was in season seven's "The Lonely Runner" in act one with Gilbert Roland and Beauty. A rare and one-time only glance at the meadow's 600-foot beachfront with Mount Tallac across the water.

Bourne's Meadow Photo 3
Bourne's Meadow Photo 4
A passing stranger at the meadow.

Bourne's Meadow Photo 5
Spring colors at the meadow.

To see enlargements, please click on the photos!

DIRECTIONS: From South Lake Tahoe, drive along Hwy 50, and about two miles before you get to Zephyr Cove, look on your left side and you will see the Bourne's Meadow.

     You can easily line the mountains up with it, and park off the highway. To obtain permission, you must speak with the Lake Tahoe Film Commission or Chamber Of Commerce.

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