Alpine Historical

Museum Exhibits

The John De Witt Museum, located on one acre of land at 2116 Tavern Road in Alpine, California, consists of the historic Nichols House, the historic Beaty House, the historic Carriage House, and Outdoor Exhibits.

Nichols House

The NICHOLS HOUSE was constructed in 1896 and purchased that same year by Dr. Sophronia Nichols. In 1899 she purchased the 1886 schoolhouse, and had it moved and attached to the back of her house, using it for her medical practice. Dr.Nichols held California medical license #26, and was one of the first women licensed to practice medicine in the state. Sophronia was the older sister of Carrie Foss, matriarch of one of Alpine’s pioneer families.

This building includes the Welcome Center, the Dr.Nichols Exhibit, the Arnold Exhibit, the Foss Family Exhibit, Alpine School Exhibit, the original School Bell, Kumeyaay baskets and pottery, andother landmarks of Alpine History.
This building includes the Welcome Center, the Dr.Nichols Exhibit, the Arnold Exhibit, the Foss Family Exhibit, Alpine School Exhibit, the original School Bell, Kumeyaay baskets and pottery, andother landmarks of Alpine History.

Beaty House

The BEATY HOUSE was built in 1899 a few miles south by Adam Beaty with his own hands in the style of the “I Design”, which was common in the Tidewater South of the United States prior to 1830. Adam and Caroline Beaty named their house “Chiquita”. Almost 100 years later, in 1998, Ted Christian son purchased the property from the Katherine Ballentine Jenny family, and donated the Beaty House to the Historical Society, moving it to the museum property.

The main gallery hosts changing exhibits and the current exhibit recalls the contributions made by women for the civic, professional and cultural development of the Alpine community. The main gallery also displays the 100+ year-old pump organ, and the glass-door Foss family cabinet. The west gallery describes beekeeping and the success of John Harbison as a world-renowned apiarist, and includes a replica of The Harbison Hive which was widely used in the late 1800’s. Other exhibits here include Native Bees, Alpine Birds, and Agriculture in Early Alpine.
The main gallery hosts changing exhibits and the current exhibit recalls the contributions made by women for the civic, professional and cultural development of the Alpine community. The main gallery also displays the 100+ year-old pump organ, and the glass-door Foss family cabinet. The west gallery describes beekeeping and the success of John Harbison as a world-renowned apiarist, and includes a replica of The Harbison Hive which was widely used in the late 1800’s. Other exhibits here include Native Bees, Alpine Birds, and Agriculture in Early Alpine.

Carriage House

The CARRIAGE HOUSE contains several historic artifacts including a 1906 Larkins & Company “Phaeton” aka Doctor’s Buggy, carefully restored to like-new condition by museum volunteers. You will also find a life-size Gorilla statue, carefully crafted by the Fiberglass Menagerie Company in Alpine during the 1960’s. There are also artifacts from the nationally acclaimed Willows Resort during the first half of the 1900’s, and vintage signs from early Alpine businesses.

Outdoor Exhibits

The OUTDOOR EXHIBITS include a display of many early horse-drawn farming machines from the Walker Ranch, and a reproduction of a typical “privy” or out-house constructed for display by museum volunteers, quite a favorite with school children. Also on display is the care fully restored 1942 GMC Fire truck originally purchased to serve the nearby Harbison Canyon Volunteer Department, as well as a restored hand-powered water pump. The grounds support the Waterwise and Butterflies Native Plant Garden, planted and maintained by the Alpine Garden Club.

In front of the museum, a signboard recalls the healthy climate that brought many new residents to town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the slogan: “Alpine, Best Climate in the U.S.A., by Government Report.”
In front of the museum, a signboard recalls the healthy climate that brought many new residents to town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the slogan: “Alpine, Best Climate in the U.S.A., by Government Report.”
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