Skip to main content

Jim Beckwourth Museum

May contain: architecture, building, cabin, house, housing, and log cabin

Jim Beckwourth was an African American who played a major role in the early exploration and settlement of the American West. Although there were people of many races and nationalities on the frontier, Beckwourth was the only African American who recorded his life story, and his adventures took him from the everglades of Florida to the Pacific Ocean and from southern Canada to northern Mexico.

The Jim Beckwourth Cabin Museum is the last and only survivor of Jim's three cabins and trading posts built on the hill where one now sees the old Ramelli Ranch. The first two cabins were built by Jim, less substantially of boards on frame, and both were lost to fires. This cabin, Jim's last on his War Horse Ranch, was likely built for him in 1857 by hired builders. The two-story white shiplap-clad home seen amongst the Ramelli buildings conceals a squared-log cabin made using the same techniques as seen in Jim's cabin, so likely built by the same builders, for Alex Kerby, the ranch's next owner.
To preserve the cabin for a museum, it was moved off the hill to its current location in the late 1980s by members of E Clampus Vitas and other volunteers, managed by a local building mover, and with a road grader provided by the county for traction.

Description By Richard Arnold

  • Location: 1820 Rocky Point Road, Portola, CA (East of Portola off Hwy 70)
  • Open Hours: From 12:00-4:00 p.m., Memorial Day through September; weather permitting
  • Admission: Free but donations are appreciated
Join our mailing list