HOMEWOOD, Calif. (AP) - A billionaire and his wife have donated $500,000 toward construction of the Tahoe Maritime Museum on Lake Tahoe's west shore.
Warren E. "Ned" Spieker Jr., and his wife, Carol, hope their challenge grant will generate an equal amount of money from the community.
Museum officials had previously raised $2.3 million for the $3.9 million building that breaks ground this summer in Homewood "We think this (Spieker donation) will be a real motivator as we launch the public phase of our campaign," said Tom Bredt, president of the museum's board.
Bredt said the Spiekers are Lake Tahoe homeowners, museum members and wooden-boat owners. Ned Spieker's real estate development empire is based in Menlo Park.
"They are active members of the community," Bredt told Truckee's Sierra Sun newspaper.
Plans call for the two-story museum to open by summer 2008. It will feature a vast collection of photographs and memorabilia concerning Lake Tahoe's rich maritime history, as well as displays of antique boats, water skis and fishing poles.
The museum's boat collection rivals many maritime museums in the nation, with more than 25 historic vessels, officials said.
Opulent steamers were used to ferry passengers around Lake Tahoe before the construction of roads in the early 1900s.
The museum will be temporarily housed in a Homewood trailer this summer.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.