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Discover the rich history of the Alba Schoolhouse

The Little Red Alba Schoolhouse was an iconic historical structure on the flank of Ben Lomond Mountain, high in the redwoods of Santa Cruz County, California. Originally built in 1895, it was the last remaining one-room schoolhouse in the county still in its original location, original configuration. In current times, it was primarily used as a community center for local gatherings and learnings.

In 2020, the Alba Schoolhouse tragically burned to the ground – a casualty of the 2020 CZU Lighting Complex fire.

A dedicated group of community members have banded together to advocate for rebuilding. The Alba Schoolhouse served as a gathering point for the community, and it remains a beloved figure of Ben Lomond. Our mission is to ensure that another community beacon can be raised, as it was in 1895.


In 1894, D.R. Guichard, a resident of Alba Road (known then as “Stoddard Road”) made County Superintendent John W. Linscott a proposition: A chicken dinner, if he would walk from the Ben Lomond School on Newell Creek, all the way to the Guichard residence, two miles up the mountain.  This was the route children (Guichard had seven) had to take to attend the nearest school.  Linscott didn’t end up making it on foot; he took a horse and buggy. Guichard still fed him the chicken dinner though, because the point had been made:  A closer school was needed.  The Alba District was formed, named after the youngest daughter of long time local resident Joseph Rossi. The structure itself was barn-raised by the community.

Alba Rossi, born in 1888, was one of the first children to attend. 

​By 1933, with more people moving into the area, it was decided to expand the Alba Schoolhouse.  In March of 1934, the one-room Sequoia School on China Grade in Boulder Creek—which had been closed for ten years—was taken apart board-by-board and reassembled onto the rear of the Alba structure.  A deck was later added.

In 1940, the Alba School House ceased to function as a school.  It became a remote branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library System, open one day a week, until 2007. 

Lucia McLean, a local historian and member of the Rebuild Committee, has put together a detailed history about the Alba Schoolhouse.

““Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much””

Hellen Keller

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