Most folks whizzing around Paso Robles on the 101 Highway probably do not think of all the folks and land taken to build the freeway. In our town it was a considerable amount of folks.
From the north the railroad and highway overpass consumed the Schauf farm. This dairy and alfalfa farm was once owned by Arnold Carminiti. He had come to our area about 1900 and at first had a job of cutting oak trees and blasting stumps out of the ground with dynamite. His son Waldo said that his father then bought the small dairy that lay along the Salinas River bank. The dairy barn lay right against the river bank with its springs issuing out sulfur water. He had a still behind the barn that was never found by the officials with the strong sulfur smell. The boys herded the cattle along the river bank as they didn’t have enough grass along with some alfalfa, too.
The barn was dismantled in 2013 and a new barn built for the Sewer Farm and settling ponds. The house and other buildings had been dismantled years before. Arnold sold the place before 1920 and bought the farm on the east side of the river and the mouth of the Huer Huero River. The Shaufs bought the land and lived there until the freeway was begun about 1953.
Hugh Black had the rest of the land from the farm to the railroad tracks and down to 24th street. It took out a good bit of his hatchery and poultry pens. In the 1930’s during the Depression Hugh Black would take several dozen big turkeys the first part of November up to the second story of the hotel above the store on the corner of 12th and Pine Streets. A crowd would gather on 12th Street below and turkeys would be tossed out the window and soar down to the ground. Whoever got a turkey could keep it.
The Mid State Fair takes up part of the land once owned by Alex Biasotti. Alex was born in Italy in 1866 and bought 5 acres in 1896 along the Salinas River. He raised vegetables and had a vegetable wagon used to deliver vegetables to folks and sell in the stores up town. By 1917 he had bought more land and had 30 acres. He had an artesian well that flowed water into a reservoir used to water the vegetables and alfalfa. He and his wife Amelia Defilippi Biasotti had 13 children and Benjamin, the 12th child, took over from his parents and owned the land when it was taken for the freeway. Ben bought the land on Creston Road that is now Creston Village and the houses behind it. He raised turkeys and some chickens for eggs to sell until it was developed in the 1980’s. The Fair owns the front part of Biasotti’s former land.
21st Street went to the river where the city dump was located. A Clevenger owned the next property and raised vegetables while there was a wood yard owned and operated by some Mexican/Indian families where the Pioneer Museum is now located. Many folks lived on short streets to the river from 20th to 17th Streets.
Richard Blake was born in 1921 at 1624 Riverside Street and told me much of the history of that area. They lived in a two room shack at first while his father worked at the City Yards between 14th and 15th Streets east of Riverside Street. His mother bought vegetables from the Biasotti’s for their family that included his younger brother Frank. They lived catty-corner across from where Richard and Frank had Blake’s Plumbing for many years. Bismarck Erdmans lived down 17th Street in an underground house with his family. He had a wood yard as well as a garden with vegetables and a patch of alfalfa to feed his horses and poultry.
The Paso Robles Electric Company was on 13th and Riverside Streets. Later Jim Rude had a Service Station on the corner and a lumber yard was beside him. Joseph Wallace was the local Caterpillar distributor and his building is still standing, with H. A. Wood Machine Shop and Case distributorship beside the River. Along the river lived Italian families, including the Della and the Rude families. Carolina Rude Dyck helped me with the history. Her sister married Richard Blake.
South of Spring Street and Riverside were houses and businesses. Ubaldo Ballesteros had a large wood yard across from the Farmers alliance, several blocks long. His family lived there. When they found out folks were stealing wood, they would drill a small hole and fill it with black powder. When inserted in a stove it would blow off the lids and the culprit would be found.
Other Italian families lived on the south end of Paso Robles Street including the Richetti families. They had big gardens.
By Harold Franklin
About the Author:
I am Harold Franklin. I was born at home in Paso Robles on Creston Road, June 12, 1937, the first 2nd generation baby of Dr. Wilmer who delivered my mother, Hilda Claassen, on May 18, 1915. I am the oldest of 6 children of farmer and rancher Harold and Hilda Franklin. I rode the bus 5 miles into Paso Robles where I attended grades 1-12. I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara 1955 to 1959 and obtained my California Elementary Teaching Credential. Mr. Speck hired me to teach fifth grade at Georgia Brown School where I taught from 1959 to 1976. In the summertimes I harvested barley until 1998. I taught fifth and sixth grade at the then Pifer School, now Lewis Middle School, named after my 7th Grade teacher. In 1978 and 1979 I moved with my family to Huehuetenango, Guatemala, where I taught 6th Grade in English at the Huehue Boarding School. I then moved to the new Flamson Middle School in 1981 where I taught 6th and 8th Grade science for eighteen years. I retired in 1997. I work at the Pioneer Museum as well as my church.
I attended the Willow Creek Mennonite Church from my birth until first grade in 1943 when the activity of WW II in the area hindered our travel. I then attended First Baptist Church until 1956 when we started Grace Baptist Church on Creston Road. After teaching for one year and one month, I was drafted into the U.S. Army on 25 October 1960 and served with Special Troops at Ft. Hood, Texas, in the Post Headquarters.
I returned to my fifth grade class in 1962 and on June 21, 1963, I married my wife, Karen Bergman, from Tulare, CA, a nurse. I have three children, Rebecca, Jonathan, and Sharon, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grand children that live in the area except for Becky, who lives in Spokane, Washington. My grandson Taylor is presently in Fort Richardson, Alaska, in the U.S. Army.