Old Paso: Paso Robles High School Initiation

by Harold Franklin

PRHS photo courtesy of www.pasorobles-usa.com

PRHS at 24th and Spring, photo courtesy of http://www.pasorobles-usa.com

This farm boy was scared to begin high school. The Senior class initiated the Freshman the third week of school. I was not very familiar with the school but had attended various community functions in the auditorium over the years. But I was not familiar with the campus.

The brick building had been built in 1924 in a camping park. The front faced  Spring Street which was busy Highway 101 with its diesel trucks and vehicular traffic. The walls were covered in ivy. The first high school was a three storied building built in 1892 at what is now the Marie Bauer School. The third story was removed after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. This new high school was two story on the half facing the Highway. On the north end on the second floor was the library and study hall and one large classroom on the south end. On the second floor one could walk down the enclosed hallway and look to the west over the roof of the first story rooms. Large pictures lined the second floor wall with classes from the 1920’s and 1930’s. The school cafeteria was the first room on the north second floor with the chemistry room next to it. The building had been strengthened with steel beams and ties after the large 1933 Southern California earthquake. During my Sophomore year in 1952-1953, the outer layer of bricks were jackhammered off, steel reinforcing tied on the walls and gunite concrete shot onto the iron grid to strengthen the building. The bricks and ivy look was gone. Continue reading


Old Paso: The Southern Pacific Milling Company

by Harold Franklin

TrainDepot 1890

The Southern Pacific depot circa in 1890. The original building still stands today and is currently the home of Anglim Winery.

Paso Robles was in the center of a huge grain growing area. It just needed an impetus to develop. This finally happened on October 31, 1886, when the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in  our town and the engineer blew a long, loud blast with his steam whistle that echoed and re-echoed through the hills and plains.

For eleven years the railroad had ended at Soledad. Then 1,500 Chinese laborers began laying track on the right-of-way behind the surveyors and grading personnel in the spring of 1886. The track ended at Crocker, now Templeton, for several years. Within a couple of days, railroad cars arrived loaded with redwood lumber and a crew to build a warehouse. The warehouse was a separate entity from the railroad, The Southern Pacific Milling Company. This company was set up quickly to get the farmers and ranchers wheat and wool. The company offered sacks, twine, insurance and all the necessities needed by the farmers moving into the area.

It was a monopoly. Offering higher prices than the ports of Cayucos, San Simeon and Port Harford, the prices were still low. The Blackburn Brothers and James had built a bridge across the Salinas River in 1887 and the Cliff Road, now South River Road, for the farmers. Along with all the necessary items needed for ranching and farming, soon a mill was set up to produce feed, as well as a planning mill for dressing the lumber offered by the company. They also offered all types of farming implements needed for working the soil.

The S.P. Milling Company warehouse was built directly east of the depot across the tracks. Special crews built the warehouse, the depots, and the 60,000 gallon water tanks required by the steam engines. The crew quickly set up in a few weeks the redwood warehouse that was 50 feet wide and over 660 feet long. The walls were 14 feet high with open rafters to the roof. Later the warehouse was extended to almost 1,000 feet long to handle all the business. The warehouse was 50 feet wide. Every 50 feet on the railroad side was a door through which boxcars could be unloaded and loaded.

On the Riverside Street side were doorways with side steps every 50 feet where the grain sacks were unloaded from the wagons and later years the trucks. These sidings were about 4 feet high so the hand trucks could be used to haul 5 sacks at a time into the warehouse. Wheat weighed about 140 pounds to a sack with barley about 120 pounds.  A hand truck with 5 sacks of wheat was about 700 pounds.

Continue reading

Paso Robles Pioneer Day Celebration Includes 125th Anniversary Elements

Pioneer Day Celebration Includes 125th Anniversary Elements

Beer garden, bake-off, old-fashioned kids’ games and more planned!
Funfair Graphic_Pioneer Day


With a theme of “Old Fashioned Funfair,” the Paso Robles 125th Anniversary celebration is
teaming up with Pioneer Day to bring a few new elements to the City Park during the 2014 Pioneer Day in honor of the city’s Quasquicentennial year.  The event takes place Saturday, October 11, 2014.

In addition to the local favorite parade and other activities, there are a handful of fun elements planned to keep people in the park after the parade, including a street dance, a beer garden, a bake-off for amateurs and professionals, old-fashioned kids games including a cake walk and tug of war, and more.

Beer and Ginger Ale Garden Oaktoberfest12oz
Just east of the gazebo you will find the first ever Pioneer Day Beer and Ginger Ale Garden. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, ever dedicated to supporting its community, has donated beer to this event to be sold as a fundraiser for the 125th Anniversary. Ginger Ale will also be for sale, donated by Pithy Little Wine Company. Bottled water will be available for purchase.

Bake Off apple pie
Are you an amateur or professional baker? Got a famous recipe for apple pie, cobbler or cupcakes? Bring your creation down to the park before the parade for your chance to win bragging rights and recognition in the local media. No charge to enter. Local “celebrity” judges to be announced. For more information contact Shonna Howenstine at 227.7236 or shonna@prcity.com.

Kids Games
Come introduce your kids or grandkids to the games you loved as a kid. There will be a cake walk, tug of war, sack races, hula hooping and more. Located east of the gazebo.

Street Dance Monte Mills
Let the good times roll! A street dance will take place on Pine Street between 11th and 12th Streets, adjacent to the beer and ginger ale garden. Local favorite Monte Mills and the Lucky Horse Shoe Band are the entertainment.

Antique Equipment Display
Select Pioneer Day parade entries including some of the finest antique wagons and tractors anywhere, will be on display on 12th Street from 1:00 to 4:00 PM for the public to view and take photos with.

Volunteers Needed
If you are interested in being part of this fun celebration as a volunteer, please contact Suzanne Robitaille at 237.7811 or srobitaille@prcity.com.

Paso-125th-Logo_webAbout the 125th Anniversary Celebration:
2014 marks the 125th Anniversary of Paso Robles incorporating as a city, and the community is celebrating the occasion all year, including the “Happy Birthday, Paso Robles” event held on March 11, 2014; the old-fashioned 4th of July celebration; an Old-Fashioned Family Fun Day in the park during Pioneer Day in 2014, a grand finale on December 31, 2014, and many more events in between. For a complete list of events celebrating the 125th anniversary throughout 2014, go to www.paso125.com.

About Paso Robles: Recently named Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Paso Robles, California is located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Highway 101 and is roughly a 20 minute drive inland from the Pacific Ocean. This small farming town boasts 250+ wineries, a charming historic downtown and town square, comfortable lodging accommodations, farm-to-table dining, art galleries, shopping, hot mineral springs and friendly locals. For more information about Paso Robles, CA, please visit  www.TravelPaso.com.