What's in a name? Shakespeare asked. Names in Alpine County, as in other places, signify individuals and families who first settled and helped build its communities. Among familiar names in the county are the Barbers, Bloods, Chains, Coyans, Grovers, Hawkins, Jims, Marklees, Merrills, Monroes, Neddenrieps, Prices, Ruperts, Thompsons, Thornburgs, and Woodfords.
Many of them have been honored by the county museum in Markleeville in its exhibitions and publications and a few when their descendants visited the museum. The Grover name is an important part of Alpine County's history, and on the weekend of Sept. 15, 20 members traveled to Markleeville from many places in the United States and overseas to learn about their family history and to provide new information.
Grover Hot Springs is familiar to many residents in Carson Valley and elsewhere. Its history dates to the late 1800s when Charles Grover and his bride Elizabeth Anne Savage initially had a home in Markleeville and then in the valley known as Grover Hot Springs. The hot springs, heated by fissures deep in the earth were resting stops for the Washoe Indians long before prospectors passed through what is now Alpine County on their way to the California gold fields. According to legend the explorers Kit Carson and John C. Fremont found the hot springs a welcome respite on their travel across the Sierra.
The large white building at the corner of Main and Montgomery streets in Markleeville was first known as the Grover House, next as the Hot Springs Hotel and then the Alpine Hotel. Originally it was the Fiske House in Silver Mountain City when Grover moved it to Markleeville in 1883.
Charles Grover was the county sheriff and tax assessor. Grover was an imposing figure upon his horse, named Luck. But "...maintaining order," it was noted, "was not an easy job, especially when miners and rough-and-tumble ranch hands decided to liven things up."
Charles married Elizabeth the schoolteacher at the Webster School that is at the museum. However, she had to resign because state law prohibited married teachers. Years later she became superintendent of schools.
The members of the Grover family at the reunion sat at the desks in the old Webster School and listened to stories about the history of the county, the school, and the Grover family by former Museum Director Nancy Thornburg and current Director Dick Edwards. Following lunch they met with Thornburg at the county library to view records of their family and Alpine County.
Sources: Alpine County Historical Society 'Images of Alpine County,' 2005, p. 71 and 'Alpine Heritage,' rev. ed., 1987 and Dick Edwards.