A lot can happen in 125 years. For most towns the size of Paso Robles that means growth, and most of all, change. One of the most remarkable things that has come out of reflecting on the past 125 years is the realization that many of the values that Paso held in 1889 haven’t changed a bit. Our community pride, warm hospitality and indomitable pioneer spirit are indeed alive, well and thriving in Paso Robles today, not to mention our penchant for throwing amazing parties.
Paso Robles 4th of July Celebration circa 1900
As 2014 approaches, event co-chairs and local luminaries Dee Lacey and Frank Mecham are heading up preparations to allow the entire community to celebrate Paso Robles turning 125 years old with its traditional values and can-do attitude intact. A number of events are planned to bring this special community together and celebrate the past, present and future of Paso Robles. Notable fundraisers include the sale of commemorative merchandise as well as a Paso Robles cookbook and historic calendar. Local schools will be participating at every level, incorporating Paso Robles history in their 2014 curriculum, performing at events and creating special projects.
When Drury James and the Blackburn Brothers elected to incorporate Paso Robles as a city in 1889, community pride, hospitality and the pioneer spirit was clearly evident in the considerable amount of infrastructure in place for such a small town (only 523 residents in 100 buildings). Resident and visitor services at the time included a train depot, daily stagecoach schedule, a bank, church and doctor’s office, a newspaper and a schoolhouse. There was also a City Park (still in use in its original location today although no longer ringed with cacti), one winery, numerous hotels, restaurants, saloons, bath houses and hot springs resorts. Most remarkably, the town founders elected to install street car lines to bring guests of the hot springs from the train station to their hotel and on to the hot sulfur baths. By 1900 Paso Robles would boast, among other things – a library, opera house, fire station, approximately 1,000 residents and a quality of life that benefited both residents and visitors, laying the groundwork for a bright future for this hard-working and tight-knit community.
If there is one thing that has been proven in Paso Robles over the past 125 years, we know how to throw a party. The 125th Anniversary celebrations will involve the entire community in a slate of events that will both honor our history and entertain attendees in a unique way, starting this New Year’s Eve, where for the first time ever fireworks will be launched over the downtown City Park at midnight to ring in 2014 in a spectacular way. The entire community is invited to attend this free and “glowing” event.
Community supporters are encourage to attended the New Year’s Eve Gala Fundraising Dinner that evening in the Paso Robles Inn Grand Ballroom, a black tie 5-course dinner with ambiance, décor and entertainment designed to celebrate this historic milestone to the fullest. A select number of exclusive live auction lots will keep the fundraising quick and fun.
photo from Examiner.com
Additional (and free!) events include the Happy Birthday Paso Robles event on March 11, 2014 in the City Park; an enhanced 4th of July celebration with 125th Anniversary elements added; an Old Fashioned Family Fun Day in the park during Pioneer Day; and a fireworks finale over City Park on New Year’s Eve 2014.
And of course, in Paso Robles a party is even better for a good cause. The 125th Anniversary celebrations are more than just a way to celebrate a grand occasion, this is also an opportunity for the community to support three organizations whose missions are to preserve, protect and celebrate Paso Robles’ history all year, every year: proceeds from the 125th Anniversary will benefit the el Paso de Robles Historical Society, the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum and Paso Robles Pioneer Day.
So, come and join in the fun. For more information on the history of Paso Robles, the 125th Anniversary events, cookbook, calendar, merchandise, beneficiaries and sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, go to www.paso125.com.
Let’s get ready to party like it’s 1889!