History of Alpine Schools
2019 has brought many changes to our local school district, so let us reflect on the long history of education in Alpine.
By Jim Hinds, Alpine Historical Society
In 1875 the Alpine School District was formed in a broad territorial expense 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.
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 school 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 merger with the Center School District after which it was not used as a schoolhouse. It was bought by Doctor 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) and opened on September 3, 1890. The new one room schoolhouse build by Benjamin Arnold was palatial when compared to the white weather-boarded schoolhouse of the Alpine School District’s.
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 Timeline
1931 –The Center and the Viejas School Districts merge and an additional room
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 Blvd.
1953 – A single engine plane crashed into the one room schoolhouse.
1957 – The one room schoolhouse demolished.
1960 – Harbison Canyon School built near the site of the first Webb school. School later renamed Chaparral then Joan McQueen Middle School.
1986 – Shadow Hills Elementary School opened next to Joan McQueen Middle School.
1990 – Boulder Oaks Elementary School opened on Tavern Road.
2001 – A new Joan McQueen Middle School opened on Tavern Road.
Shadow Hills Elementary School moved into the old Joan McQueen School. The original Shadow Hills School became the Creekside Early Learning Center for early intervention and kindergarten.
2019 – Alpine Elementary School closes with students going to Boulder Oaks and Shadow Hills Elementary Schools.
2019/2020 - Grossmont Union High School District Education Complex opens.
From the Webb’s first school and the Foss’ lean-to structure, the School District has grown to three elementary schools (now two), a middle school, an early learning center, and a high school in the future.
Alpine Historical Society
2116 Tavern Rd
Alpine, CA 91901