Echoes of Alpine Inn's early days
Founded in 1852, Casa De Tableta is the second oldest continually operating tavern in California. While the name may have changed numerous times during its rich history, 167 years later the Alpine Inn continues to attract customers to the beer garden on the banks of Los Trancos Creek. To this day you will still find customers arriving on horseback.
First owners of buelna’s roadhouse - 1852
In 1852, after leaving the San Jose area, Felix Buelna, former SJ Mayor, settled on 95 acres in the valley between the Alpine Hills & Los Trancos Creek. San Jose had just passed an ordinance prohibiting Sunday gambling. Upon moving, Buelna was set on creating “A Casa de Tableta,” a roadhouse for country men to meet, play cards, to drink & to dance. In 1867, Buelna leases the property, to Jesús Ramos, a Mexican who had come to California seeking gold. During this time, Fernando Valencia, was operating the Saloon, which came to be known as “Fernando’s Store.”
first known photo taken around 1880
While the earliest photo only dates back to the 1880’s, by 1868, Felix Buelna had sold the property to William Stanton. Buelna’s grandson believes that his grandfather lost all of his property in a rigged poker game at the Searsville Saloon. Pictured above is a Portugese man, Rodriguez “Jo” Crovello, the barkeeper, of what was then known as “Black Chapete’s” with the land owner, William Stanton.
wunder bar - 1906
After numerous owners, around 1904-5 Charles Schenkel became the primary owner and renamed the roadhouse to “The Wunder.” Standing in the doorway is future lease owner, Walter Jelich Sr., on the left is Charles Schenkel, Wunder owner, & on the right, past barkeeper - Jo Crovello, better known as “Black Chapete.”
Prohibition Days - 1919
In 1919, because of Prohibition, saloons were closed nationwide. For the next 13 years the “Wunder Bar” sign was painted over & liquor had to be smuggled into the county. During this time, the outdoor area was still in use and was referred to as “Schenkel’s Picnic Park.” It became advertised to San Franciscans as a place where non-alcoholic beverages were sold, but more potent beverages were reputedly available to those in the know.
Rossotti’s beer garden - 1933
When Prohibition ended in 1933, Stanford students returned & Schenkel & Jelich retired passing the lease on to Enrico Rossotti. Rossotti eventually purchased the property from the Stanton family and ran the popular establishment until 1956. With the addition of burgers and similar grill food, it became a local hotspot for Stanford fans year-round, but especially during football season.
Celebration of Historic Building Plaque - 1969
On May 24th, 1969, the Alpine Inn location became registered as historical landmark #825 for its original name “Casa de Tableta.” Although it was no longer owned by the Rossotti Family, and the name had been changed to Alpine Inn, many of the past owners and their families were in attendance for the exciting celebration.
To this day, this roadhouse has been in operation for 167 years. In 2018, after the property had been put up for sale once again, the Portola Valley community became rightfully worried about its fate. In a joint purchase by three local PV families, it is back to getting the proper care and attention it deserves. The building is currently undergoing historic refurbishment and current code upgrades. We hope to have an opening date soon.