Alpine Historical

Education | Schools

Alpine’s One-Room Schoolhouse, circa 1890. This schoolhouse was donated by Alpine’s benefactor, Benjamin Arnold. Photo from the Corinne Lewis Collection.

The Alpine Historical Society works closely with the schools in Alpine to ensure the rich history of the community is passed on to the younger generation.

Each year the local schools are invited to participate in an essay contest–a part of the third grade unit on local history. All participants are invited to the Alpine History Day Celebration in June and prizes are awarded to the winners. The children are amazing!

Alpine’s schools have always been a strong force in the community. The following illustrates the influence schools have had on Alpine.

A Brief History of Alpine Schools

In 1875, the Alpine School District was formed in a broad territorial expanse but in a sparsely populated region of what had been part of the Cajon School District.   Over the following twenty-four years, the district’s schoolhouse was located in five different locations.   As more families settled in the area, new districts—Viejas, Smithdale, Dehesa, El Capitan, Eureka and Center—were formed from parts of the Alpine School District and the district’s boundary constricted inward.

Alpine School District

First School
The first school was established in 1875 on the George Washington Webb Ranch in proximity to the present-day Shadow Hills Elementary School on Harbison Canyon Road.   The first teacher was Emma G. Everhart.   At the conclusion of the school year in 1876, this school was discontinued.
Second School
In 1877, a lean-to structure was attached to the Edward A. Foss home for use as a schoolhouse.   The Foss Ranch was located off of the present Foss Road.   For the next four years this served as Alpine’s school.
Third School
In 1881, a small redwood schoolhouse was constructed on Hugh Field’s property on South Grade Road near Big Wagon Road.   This school served Alpine until replaced in 1886.
Fourth School
In 1886, a new white weather-boarded schoolhouse was constructed west of the redwood schoolhouse.   Its exact location has not been established.   During the summer of 1892, the schoolhouse was cut in half and moved to the Foss Ranch.
Fourth School–Second Location
The schoolhouse, upon being moved to the Foss Ranch, was reassembled adjacent to South Grade Road and Little Oaks Lane. This school continued to serve the Alpine School District until the district merged with the Center School District, after which it was no longer used as a schoolhouse.   It was bought by Dr. Sophronia Nichols and moved to her property on Tavern Road and attached to the back of her home.
Center School District
In 1890, with the formation of the Center School District, a large schoolhouse was constructed on Administration Way (formerly Tavern Road).   This schoolhouse opened on September 3, 1890.   The new one-room schoolhouse, built by Benjamin Arnold, was palatial when compared to the Alpine School District’s white weather-boarded schoolhouse.
With the merger of the Alpine and Center School Districts in 1899, this new schoolhouse was retained as the district’s school.   This schoolhouse, though surpassed in the twentieth century by new buildings, served Alpine until 1957 when it was condemned and sold for salvage.

Alpine Union School District

1931 – The Center and the Viejas School Districts merge and an additional classroom was added onto the one-room schoolhouse.

1934 – The Alpine Center School District became the Alpine Union School District.

1940 – School built next to the one-room schoolhouse.

1953 – Alpine Elementary School built for 500 students on Alpine Boulevard.

1953 – A single-engine plane crashed into the one-room schoolhouse.

1957 – The one-room schoolhouse was demolished.

1960 – Harbison Canyon School built near the site of the first Webb school.   School later renamed Chaparral, then Joan MacQueen Middle School.

1986 – Shadow Hills Elementary School opened next to Joan MacQueen Middle School.

1990 – Boulder Oaks Elementary School opened on Tavern Road.

2001 – A new Joan MacQueen Middle School opened on Tavern Road.   Shadow Hills Elementary School moved into the old Joan MacQueen School.   The original Shadow Hills School became the Creekside Early Learning Center for early intervention and kindergarten.

From the Webb’s first school and the Foss’ lean-to
structure, the school district has grown to three
elementary schools, a middle school, an early learning center and a high school in the future.

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