Highway 101 Bypass, Turkeys and Wood Thieves

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.

Historic_Highway_101From 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.

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Campgrounds, Churches and Outhouses

by Harold Franklin

My father, Harold J. Franklin , was 14 when his family camped overnight in Resthaven, 3 miles west of Paso Robles up Adelaide Road. The springs in the canyon kept the swimming pool in Resthaven full the year round. It was November 1, 1926, and his father, Rev. Joseph Franklin, had been appointed by the bishop of this district to pastor the San Miguel Methodist Episcopal Church. He was also pastor of the Shandon and Estrella Methodist Episcopal Churches. They would live in San Miguel at the end of K Street in the purple parsonage still there across from Lillian Larson School.

Rev. Franklin was 54 years old and he suffered from a bad heart, the result of the 1918 flu epidemic. Not able to stand the cold, harsh winter weather of South Dakota any longer, the family had left Elk Point, South Dakota, in their 1923 Dodge Touring Car. They camped along the way with the running boards full of their camping equipment. Sixteen year old Howard drove the car to Long Beach where my grandmother, Ethel’s brother George Combs, was living with his family, working as a city fireman. Rev. Franklin attended the West Coast Methodist Episcopal Conference and had received the two year appointment to San Miguel. The family had camped the night before at Gaviota. The next night they were in the church’s parsonage in San Miguel. The three boys, Howard, Harold and Wesley and little sister Lois were told by their next door neighbors, the Wilmer’s, Dr. Wilmer’s parents, to pick almonds from the orchard across the street as they were not knocked that year. That was a new experience for them. That orchard became Almond Acres. Mr. Wilmer was in charge of the San Miguel Southern Pacific Railroad Station.

resthaven-slide
Motels did not exist in those days. Folks camped or stayed in hotels, if available. The first motel in the United States was the Motel Inn at the very north end of San Luis Obispo started in the 1930’s.

Paso Robles had several campgrounds when my father arrived. As one entered the south end of town, there was a large campground on the right where the present Post Office, Wells Fargo
Bank and other businesses are located. Behind them was the Pittsburg Pirates Spring Training Field and the tall city natural gas tank. In the 1940’s to 1970’s it was the large Stowe’s Trailer Court with the Masonic Hall building beside 4th Street.

Across Spring Street from the Robobank and Melody Ranch Motel was a nearly 2 block campgrounds bordered by Spring and Park Streets. The city plunge was on the southeast corner of 10th and Spring Street facing east. On its south was a small motel. The plunge faced east and was the delight of us kids from the 1940’s to 1960’s. Bob Osman was the lifeguard after WW II. Polar Freeze was along Spring Street near 8th Street in the 1950’s to 1970’s.

Flamson Middle School was originally the Paso Robles HIgh School.  A heated election in1924 between San Miguel and Paso Robles ended with the high school being built in Paso Robles. A high school had been here from the early 1880’s on the south side in the present playground of Marie Bauer School. The new high school was built on the site of a large campground used especially by area farmers doing business in town. Taking a good part of a day to come to town by horse, they camped over night before returning home. In 1980 it became Flamson Middle School named after a long time former principal and schools superintendent, George Flamson.  The new Paso Robles High School was beside Niblick Road. He was superintendent in 1959 when I first became a fifth grade teacher. The First Mennonite Church was built on the northwest corner in 1904 when the 1882 Adelaide Methodist Episcopal Church by the Adelaide Cemetery was disassembled board by board and reassembled on the corner by the Estrella Mennonites. In 1924 the school district moved it cattycorner across Spring Street where it is located today.

My father attended 8th grade in San Miguel and entered Paso Robles High School in September of 1927.  Some of the San Miguel students, including Mr. Range, tried to pants my father at school. Howard came to his rescue, a small but absolutely fearless fighter. The Franklin boys had changed schools every two years so they were very excellent defenders of themselves.

 When Wesley was in Paso High School in 1834, a group of students were standing by the front door one morning when English teacher, Miss Easterling was walking inside. The elastic band on her bloomers broke just then and her panties fell out of her dress to the ground around her ankles. She calmly stepped out of them, picked them up and walked on in. I was afraid to ask Easterburg about it when I had her exactly 20 years later as a Sophomore student..

In the 1960’s I was sitting on a desk in front reading to my class after coming in from lunch recess to calm them down for the afternoon’s work. After a while a girl raised her hand and told me my pants were split! I looked down and to my absolute horror, I was split open from my belt in back to the zipper. At least I had good briefs on. I wrapped my coat around my slacks and my wife brought me in a change of pants after I called her. But I still played hard with my students, in slacks and tie.

When Mr. Speck hired me in August of 1959, he told me I was expected to dress every day in a shirt and tie with slacks. We teachers were professional and we were to dress professionally. I did that for 38 years. He also told me I had to make my own paddle for classroom management. A student was not to be sent to Mr. Butler, the Georgia Brown School Principal, unless it was something really awful. Today that paddle is in the Pioneer Museum School House hanging by the blackboard as usual.

Today we have lovely motels and inns. And no outhouses.

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.

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Old Paso: The History of the Paso Robles Farmers Alliance

(Editor’s Note: The Farmers Alliance was housed in the Almond Growers building at 525 Riverside. The building sat vacant since 1975 until a remodel was thoughtfully and carefully undertaken recently by Ray and Pam Derby of Derby Wine Estates. The ribbon cutting and grand reopening of the building happens on April 10, 2014.)

by Harold Franklin

Under construction in 1922. Photo courtesy of Derby Wine Estates

Under construction in 1922. Photo courtesy of Derby Wine Estates

The Paso Robles Farmers Alliance Business Association was organized June, 1891. A number of local farmers and ranchers had been meeting together for a few months talking about organizing a co-op. The Farmers Alliance had been organized in 1888 to serve farmers in the Midwest and West more efficiently in the light of the non-compromising railroad monopolies.

Some of the local men who organized the Farmers Alliance were Hans Iverson and his four sons- Mat- secretary of the Board, Iver, Chreston, and Clemen,  David Stockdale, Elias Brubakker, Amador Nevada Rude, William Tuley, Myron Brooke, Martin Hansen, J. Thomas Jones, Ambert Morehouse, Hansen True – President of the board from 1891 to 1914, Charley True, Niels Madsen, Patrick O’Donovan, Andrus Nelsen, Louis Lauridsen, John Hopper, Swan Nelsen, Knute Nelsen and many other concerned farmers. They were grain farmers from Willow Creek, Bethel, Union, San Juan, Cholame, Shandon, Estrella, Creston, Adelaide, El Pomar,  Cressy Grade, Linne, Sacramento Ranches, San Miguel and the Paso Roblers area. Continue reading