Town of Alpine History

By Bonnie Nebeker

Alpine is said to have been named by Roy Harrison, an early Auburn pioneer, who, while in Alpine, looked out over the mountains where he saw pine trees, and said, "All pines" and it was just shortened. He also taught the first school in Alpine.

The earliest settlers in Alpine were Walt Pein and Jim Jorden who homesteaded in 1907.

In 1912, the land was opened up for homesteading. Some of these early families included the Waltons and Livingstons.

The first building at the mouth of Snake River Canyon was owned by "Grandma" Vail and was located on the north side of the road.

Mr. and Mrs. Dave Potter owned the first grocery store while R. B. Margetts had the first post office.

One of the early developments of lower Star Valley was the ferry boat owned by John W. Booth who used to ferry teams and wagons across Snake River at the Alpine flat. The price was $1.00 a team and wagon and 25 cents per head of cattle.

This ferry operated from 1889 until the first steel bridge was built across the river in 1914. The south end of this bridge was located in Wyoming while the north end was in Idaho.

In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps started work to build a road, where only a horse trail had been before, through the Snake River canyon connecting Alpine with Jackson Hole. The narrow, two-laned, gravel road was completed in 1939.

The Palisades Dam Project was authorized by Congress in 1941 but went dormant for the duration of World War II. Construction started in 1952. The dam, the largest earth fill dam ever built by the Bureau of reclamation, backed up water of the Snake River right up to the town of Alpine. Since the reservoir inundated a number of farms below Alpine, and also the highway between Alpine and the dam site, these had to be relocated, as did the Alpine town site itself.

Town of Alpine (Old Alpine) Cemetery History
Location: Travel north from Alpine across the Snake River Bridge towards Palisades Reservoir and Idaho Falls (US 26). Approximately 3.0 miles from the bridge, the Alpine Campground will appear on the left. Directly on the right is Road #021 (GPS: 43.19704N 111.04062W). Drive East on #021 approximately 0.15 miles. Take the fork in the road to the right another 0.15 miles. Turn right (south) and travel approximately 50 yards. Old Alpine cemetery is located on the left with a wooden pole fence around it. ( GPS: 43.19650 N 111.03598 W)
How Obtained: Land donated by Lorin VanNoy.
History: by Clara W. Robinson, Elma W. Corsi and Hattie Vail Miller.

The land belonged to Jay Wallor at the time the first grave was needed in Alpine. The remainder of the land was sold to Ersel Birchtold, who, in turn, sold it to the government for a 4-H camp. It is located in a beautiful area. It rests on the top of a mountain about one half mile north of the 4-H camp and overlooks the old Alpine Flat.

Ellis Hammaker's baby was around a month old and was the first one buried there. It passed away with pneumonia in the spring of 1926 at Alpine, WY. The funeral was held in Alpine.

Charley R. Sweath, born 1888, died in April of 1927. He passed away in the Afton hospital with a ruptured appendix. The funeral was held in Etna, WY.

Fred Sweath passed away in 1954 in California of emphysema. He was born in 1888. He and Charley R. Sweath were Mrs. Jorden's sons. They must have been twins; they were born in the same year.

Emmery Nickerson was born in 1879. He passed away in a sleigh on the way to Fritz Holdbrooks place at Alpine. His funeral was at Alpine during March of 1928.

On Christmas day in 1934, Louis Nickerson (Mary Louise DeRome Nickerson) passed away at Alpine Hot Springs at her sister's home, Tillie DeRome Deeds. She was born on 8 February 1885 at Quebec, Canada. She was the wife of Emery Nickerson. The funeral was in Alpine.

Samuel Nickerson, was born 1 February 1891 in Grantsville, UT. He was found dead in his car of a heart attack. On his headstone it reads: Samuel Nickerson, Utah, Pvt-1 Cl. 272 Mil. Police, Died 2 November 1928.