When Mrs. Knight purchased the land at Emerald Bay where Vikingsholm was to be located, she was not a newcomer to the Tahoe Area. For 16 years, she had enjoyed her summer home, Wynchwood, at Observatory Point on the North Shore. This property was later sold to Robert Stanley Dollar, Sr., and is now known as Dollar Point. Through church affiliations, Mrs. Knight became acquainted with the William Henry Armstrong family who owned 239 acres at the head of Emerald Bay. In 1928, she purchased the property from them for $250,000.
Mrs. Knight commissioned Lennart Palme, a Swedish architect and her nephew by marriage, to design Vikingsholm. She had been impressed with the Nordic architecture of the home that Palme had designed for himself in Rye, New York. Because of her admiration of Palme's home and the fjord-like location at Emerald Bay, she decided to have her summer home built in a Scandinavian design. In the summer of 1928, Mrs. Knight, accompanied by the Palmes, traveled to Scandinavia to gather ideas for the construction of the house at Emerald Bay. They visited many buildings dating back to 1000-1500 A.D. in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. They derived ideas from viewing 11th Century wooden churches in Norway and stone castles in southern Sweden. They were particularly impressed with the wooden homes, some eight centuries old, in Lillehammer, Norway. All that they viewed had some effect on the design of Vikingsholm. Photographs taken on that trip show how faithful Mr. Palme reproduced specific features of the ancient Scandinavian buildings in designing Vikingsholm.
Cabin in Norway
The Palmes and Mrs. Knight
Example of sod roof