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“Rorie” Alpine’s Historic Gorilla Will Be Available for SELFIES at the Snow Festival on December 7, 2018

“Rorie” the famous Alpine Gorilla, a big fiberglass critter that hangs out at the Alpine Historical Society’s museum, will be available for selfie photos at the Snow Festival this year as part of the 23rd Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival  in Alpine! About 8 feet tall and weighing about 40 pounds, Rorie has been a popular local landmark for years.

 

Where’s Rorie? Alpine’s historic ‘gorilla’ is snow bound!

Once upon a time a big gorilla lived in the eucalyptus trees near a history museum in Alpine.

Now the eucalyptus trees are gone and Rorie the Gorilla, a huge Fiber glass creature, will be at the 23rd Alpine Village Parade of Lights & Snow Festival at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening, Dec. 7.

Created in the 1960s and a long-time resident at the Alpine Historical Society’s museum, Rorie will be ready for selfie photos at the historical society’s booth during the Snow Festival in the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road. “We cut down six eucalyptus trees in early November,” Tom Myers, president of the Alpine Historical Society, said about Rorie’s current adventure. “We did that because they were a danger to the three historical houses on the site.”

In the past, Myers said, repairs have been required because of branches that fell on the John De Witt Historic Museum and Library at 2116 Tavern Road. He added that the wood from the tall trees was given away as free firewood. “We’re planning to replace the eucalyptus trees with some native oak trees,” said Myers. “They should be lower water demand and they should become good shade —- habitat friendly.”

Meanwhile, people have been asking what happened to Rorie, an area landmark.   “That’s the mystery question of today —- ‘Where’s Rorie?’” Myers said. “We’re going to give him a bath, brush his teeth and give him some cosmetics, treatment for his hair.  He’ll be back.”

That’s only one of the changes happening at the museum. This year the historical society received a $15,000 grant from the County of San Diego to remove the eucalyptus trees, replace the concrete floor of the carriage house and install a shipping container to store documents and artifacts.

Known as a great place to explore the county’s pioneer history, the museum is also designing a new exhibit about the Willows Resort, one of the earliest ones here, Myers said. “The 1906 buggy that’s been restored will be in the Willows exhibit,” he said. “We’ll have information about the Willows Resort and the multi-generation family (that started and ran it).” Descendants of resort owners S.B. Walker and his wife, Bevie, still live in the area, Myers said. The family came to Alpine in the 1890s.

It’s making that kind of history relevant today that museum docent Carol Morrison, former historical society president, loves to share with tourists, area residents and schoolchildren. “What type of life people led when they first moved here, the local beekeeping history and the farming equipment and more,” Morrison explained. “There’s a bathtub with a hand pump that the children really like. That’s so much more interesting than video games!”

The museum is always in need of docents, volunteers, members and donations. “I think being a docent is exciting, because people don’t know much about our history,” said Morrison.

 

Submitted by: Jo Moreland, Communications, Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce. Jom@AlpineChamber.com

www.alpinechamber.com

 

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