Paso Robles Brickyards

Editor’s Note: Paso’s 125th anniversary celebration has ended, but we came across this story in the files and realized it didn’t get posted and we wanted to share it because it’s pretty cool. Enjoy!

by Harold Franklin

The Paso Robles area had most of the materials for its inhabitants to build their homes and businesses. The Salinan Indians had the brush and tule mats to build their homes. The Spanish had the adobe bricks they needed wherever they built. They had brought that skill from Spain to the New World with them. The plentiful adobe was mixed with enough water to make it gooey by working it with bare feet. Plopped by handfuls into a four inch deep 12 inch wide and 30 inch long wooden frame, the adobe was carried nearby where a handful of straw or pine needles was pushed into the adobe as a binder and the full frame dumped upside down on the ground. The frame was carefully pulled up by its four handles and the brick allowed to sun dry. Later it was turned on nits edge and fully dried. The bricks were set on to the walls using adobe mud.

The Iverson’s built two adobe houses in the Union district when they came, along with other adobe buildings in the area.

Wooden boards were brought to the area by ship to Cayucos, San Simeon, Cambria and Port Harford from the northern woods.  The wood was expensive and used carefully after brought by wagon to Paso Robles.  After the train came in 1886 lumber became more economical over the years.

Fired bricks were used in building the first buildings of Paso Robles from the early 1880’s to the 1920’s, many of them two story with a basement. No reinforcing iron was used. Many of the early settlers were brick masons.

Paso Robles Brick Yard was located between 17th and 18th Streets, from the Southern Pacific Railroad property to the edge of Riverside Street. It was started in the early 1870’s. By the 1920’s , it was a pit 30 feet deep and a block long and nearly that wide. A 10 foot wide well was on the south side of 17th Street west of the present Dr. Brad Dyck’s office.

Richard “Dick” Blake was born cattycorner from the brick yard in 1921 at 1624 Riverside Street. When a small boy a family lived in a house in the pit and had chicken sheds where they raised White Leghorn hens for their eggs. Bricks were no longer being made there.

A strip of land on the west side of Riverside Street had several buildings on it. Dick worked for Mr. Nance plumbing in Paso Robles while in high school 1937 to 1942 when Dick went into the U.S. Military. The last house they plumbed after Dick got out of the military was Jim Claassen’s house on the hilltop south of Union Road in the almond orchard. Mr. Nance died of pneumonia and Dick bought his business.

Photo shows the Tolle House, built in 1888, on Paso’s west side

On the northwest corner of 17th and Riverside Streets, was the remains of the old 2nd Baptist Church. Mr. Nance had his plumbing supplies in the old dilapidated building. Dick had also bought an old shack beside the church. A Mrs. Casteel lived in the two roomed building and when she moved out, Dick gave the old building to a local boy, who moved it down in the river. A flood washed it away. Jim Rude owned the rest of the strip and he sold it to Frank Blake, Dick’s brother, and Ole Viborg. Dick and Frank bought the old brick yard and it became Blake’s Plumbing for many years. The pit and the well had been filled in by the contractor when the 1012 Freeway was built in1955 to 1956.

John Schroeder was another local plumber and when Dick got home from the War on Saturday, John phoned and asked him to work for him Monday. Dick agreed and they finished plumbing Dr. Strahn’s office building on Vine Street. John died soon after that and Dick took over his business. John was my Grandmother’s next youngest brother, coming here in 1896.

Peter Johnson had a brick yard and kiln on present Union Road and Barney Schwartz Park. Peter was born in Sweden February 2, 1847 and came to Iowa 1872. He married Inga Gamberg in Minnesota in 1872 and they moved near Elk Point, South Dakota on a homestead beside her parents. After farming for a few years, they came to the Linne Swedish Baptist settlement on Creston Road in May, 1888. After two months, he and his family of 9 children moved to what is now Barney Schwartz Park. They lived in an old shed or barn down by the Huero Huero River while he built a kiln and fired the bricks for their new brick home, which is still standing beside Union Road. The brick kiln was near where the present swimming pool of the Paso Robles Sports Club is built. The house was finished in 1889 or 1890 and his family moved into the house with its two stories.

Peter was a mechanical genius doing carpenter work, making and laying brick, a stone mason as well as cobbling shoes. His bricks found ready sale in the building of the new city of Paso Robles. He helped in the remodeling of the Baptist Church as well as building all the brick houses seen today along Park and 17th Streets, from 20th down to 14th Streets. Peter added to his original 80 acres another 160 acres. His youngest son, William, took over the place and owned it until it was purchased for the park.

Today all the bricks are machine made and fired with natural gas. They are standard in size and hard.

Harold Franklin

New Year’s Eve 2014: An Ode to the Past, Present and Future of Paso Robles

Well, this is it, folks. The Grand Finale of Paso Robles’ 125th anniversary year happens on New Year’s Eve. The very last day (or rather, night) of 2014 will be spent the way Paso loves best – throwing a party, enjoying each other’s company and perhaps pushing the envelope just a teensy bit with a fun event.

Glow in the dark face paintWe kicked off the year with fireworks on New Year’s Eve 2013; followed that up with a huge birthday party in March; threw a huge, traditional 4th of July celebration; brought a little extra old-fashioned flavor to Pioneer Day and now we are about to bid adieu to our Quasquicentennial year in a most interesting fashion.

But it’s kind of a secret. So you’ll have to show up to see how we launch 125 years of Paso Robles traditions into the future at the stroke of midnight.

Here’s what we can share with you:

2014 New Year’s Eve Finale
“Glow in the Park”
8PM to Midnight
Downtown City Park

Join us for a family-friendly event and a park full of free activities, all glow in the dark, followed by fun surprises, to celebrate the end of our Quasquicentennial year!

Glow-in-the-Dark Activities include:

  • Croquet
  • Horseshoes
  • Bocce Ball
  • Hula Hoop
  • Bubble Tunnel
  • Four Square
  • Paddle Ball
  • Corn Hole
  • Badminton
  • Football Toss
  • Giant Rolling Balls

Other Fun Additions:

  • Food Trucks
  • Glow in the Dark Face Painting
  • Live DJ
  • Party Tent
  • And a choreographed LIGHT SHOW! (Okay, the secret is out. But that’s all we’re saying about it.)

See you on New Year’s Eve in downtown Paso Robles!

Paso Robles Six Decades Ago: People and Places

By Robert Flood
Author  of “Where the Old West Still Hangs Around”

Thanks to Harold Franklin, an old PRHS schoolmate, and other contributors for their anniversary postings. Let me add a few other memorable people and places.

parkst-business

Downtown Paso in the 1950’s

The Canary Cottage.  The café that long stood on the northeast corner of 12th and Spring. During the closing years of World War 2, our family–in from the Cholame Valley for Saturday shopping– would watch out its windows, as we lunched, the bumper to bumper traffic on Spring Street that stretched  from one end of town to the other.  Most were soldiers from Camp Roberts in town for the day.

Orcutt’s Market.  On 12th Street, the town’s modest “Albertson’s” of yesteryear. It’s where our family stocked up for the week before a 40-mile run back to our ranch. If you forgot an item you didn’t “run back to the store.” As a kid I eagerly collected bottle caps left by those who had opened pop, the copper-colored Hires root beer ones my favorite. I eventually nailed my collection  upside down on a rectangular board to create a foot scraper.

mercantile

Paso Robles Mercantile

The Paso Robles Mercantile. The town’s main, if not only, general department store. The vacuum powered money transit tubes fascinated me.  J.C. Penney also had the system.

The Paso Robles Pharmacy. On 12th St. a few doors east of the Acorn Building.  The main attraction was its scales. We’d routinely weigh ourselves each week or so. The day my short-statured mother hit 149 pounds, she panicked and went on a diet.

The Paso Robles Inn. The mural of early California on its restaurant’s south wall fascinated me. As a kid I vaguely understood that a grand hotel once stood on this site, but I would have thought it a joke if someone had told me then that Jesse and Frank James had once hid out on this property. Or that it had also lodged the Premier of Poland and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Did Paderewski ever play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game?”

Some notable people:

Coach Roy Thomas. The early 50s were Bearcat football glory years. A great coach, but he seemed to wear a frequent scowl. I was afraid of him.

Martha Swanson, journalism teacher. Under her I decided my career.

JoAnn Shetler, my assistant as editor of the yearbook. In later years she and an associate translated the New Testament in the jungles of the Phillipines and that gospel transformed an entire tribe. Years later when she spoke at a triennial student missionary convention hosted at the University of Illinois, 17,000 delegates gave her a standing ovation.

Tom Barry, his dad publisher of the Paso Robles Press. He edged me out as valedictorian,

Norma (Della) Moye,  Bearcat head cheerleader.  She’s still a mover and shaker.

George Work of the Work Family Guest Ranch in Ranchita Canyon and late rancher Kent Hansen. Kent went on to Stanford. We all ran track together.

Dave Barlogio, rancher. At my recent book signing in Carnegie Library during the Olive Festival I saw him for the first time in 61 years. Later in the week at his ranch west of Templeton he had me board his long abandoned 1929 combine and grab the header wheel to get the feel once more of the grain harvest.

Gayle (Taylor) Kattar, cousin of local real estate figure Wade Taylor and an early-day Bearcat cheerleader. We also both attended Parkfield’s one-room school built in 1888. She’s lived for 31 years now in Massachusetts. Marlene Heaton sent her my book. Thrilled, she ordered two more.

Old_West_Front_Cover.pdf_largeWhere the Old West Still Hangs Around is carried by the Pioneer Museum, Carnegie Library, the Paso Robles Inn, the Cuesta College bookstore and other local retail stores. I now also have a website for your holiday gift shopping. Order on line at www.oldwestpasorobles.com

Local Celebrity Judges for Bake Off at Pioneer Day

Local Celebrity Judges Announced for the 125th Anniversary BAKE OFF during 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, including a BAKE OFF with local celebrity judges.  The event takes place on 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, an ale garden to benefit local nonprofits, old-fashioned kids’ games and a BAKE OFF.

Bake Off
Got a famous recipe for apple pie, cobbler or cupcakes? Bring your creation down to the park before the Pioneer Day parade for your chance to win bragging rights and recognition in the local media.

Entries will fall into one of three categories: Amateur, Professional and Youth (under 18). No charge to enter. See Bake Off Rules below for full details.

The Judges
Three judges will score each Bake Off entry on a scale of 1-10 on taste and appearance, with the highest composite score in each category being named the winner. The judges are:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Andre Averseng, the chef and owner of Paso Terra Seafood, spent 6 years as a pastry chef in France before coming to the US to work with the top chefs and taught at the top culinary schools in Los Angeles. He moved his successful restaurant to Paso Robles in 2003. He is an enthusiastic teacher and gives back to his community on a regular basis. In his “spare” time he does art and brews beer.

Brigit BinnsBrigit Binns is the author or co-author of twenty-eight cookbooks, 11 for Williams-Sonoma and editor of many more. After commuting between Paso Robles and New York State for a few years, Brigit now calls Paso her home full time. She recently published a cookbook called The New Wine Country: Recipes from California’s Central Coast, which celebrates all of the farmers, ranchers, winemakers and producers in Paso Robles and along the Central Coast.

Sarah Jester photoSarah Jester is the pastry chef at Artisan Restaurant at the corner of 12th and Pine Street. She has been cooking and baking professionally for 13 years and is a graduate of Chico State and Western Culinary Institute. She began her career at Artisan as a line cook, proved her mettle and has been the on-site pastry chef there for 2.5 years. She enjoys long walks and hikes with her boyfriend of 11 years and their yellow lab. She bakes in her free time.

 Contest Rules for Pioneer Day Bake Off

  1. Contestants can be amateurs, professionals or youth under the age of 18.
  2. Contestants may have more than one entry, but can only win one (1) prize.
  3. Submissions must be home cooked (not store bought).
  4. Types of desserts that may be entered:
  5. Apple pie
  6. Cobbler
  7. Cupcakes
  8. Please do not submit anything that requires refrigeration.
  9. All submissions will become property of the 125th Anniversary committee.
  10. Contestants may work individually or with a team. (Prizes will be awarded to 1 member/team only, NOT each individual on a team.)

Contest Day:

  • Check-in is from 9:00am to 10:00am on Pioneer Day, October 11, 2014, in the City Park gazebo.
  • The Contest Representative is Jennifer Bravo.

The Scoring System:

  • Each contestant will be assigned a number for judging. Submissions will be judged on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest.
  • You will be judged on taste and appearance.
  • The Contest Representative will tally all of the ballots. The contestant with the highest score in each category will be the winner of each category.

WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED THE DAY OF THE CONTEST
YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN
Rules are subject to change

About 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 with 125th anniversary-themed events of all types. For a complete list of events celebrating the 125th anniversary throughout 2014, go to www.paso125.com.

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Pioneer Day Bake Off Registration Open!

Registration is now open for the 125th Anniversary Bake Off at Pioneer Day!

If you are an Amateur, Professional or Youth (under 18), submit either an Apple Pie, Cobbler or Cupcakes for a chance to win an award and major bragging rights.

The judges for the BAKE OFF are Brigit Binns, cookbook author; Andre Averseng, owner and chef of Paso Terra Seafood; and Sara Jester, pastry chef for Artisan Restaurant.

Enter the 125th Anniversary bake off, win bragging rights.

Enter the 125th Anniversary bake off at Pioneer Day, win major bragging rights.

If you’d like to participate in this fun event, here are more details:

Contest Rules for Pioneer Day Bake-Off 

  1. Pre-registration opens 9/12/2014 and closes 9/30/2014. Register below.
  2. Submissions must be home cooked (not store bought).
  3. Contestants may submit only one entry. 
  4. Contestants can be Amateurs, Professionals or Youth under the age of 18.
  5. Categories for baked items are:
    a. Apple pie
    b. Cobbler
    c. Cupcakes
  6. Please do not submit anything that requires refrigeration.
  7. Please deliver your entry in a disposable container or serving dish.
  8. Each submission should include a registration form. Preregister below by 9/30 (preferred, it helps us stay organized) or register the day of the bake off by 10am at the park.
  9. All submissions will become property of the 125th Anniversary committee, to be used in the cake walk.
  10. Winning recipes may be posted on the 125th anniversary website with winners’ permission.

Contest Day:

  • Check-in is from 8:00am to 10:00am on Pioneer Day, October 11, 2014, in the City Park gazebo.
  • The Contest Representatives are Jennifer Bravo and Rene Zavala, assisted by volunteers Pam and Jack Alch.
  • Awards will be given out at 2:00PM.

The Scoring System:

  • Each contestant will be assigned a number for judging so the contestants will be anonymous.
  • Submissions will be judged on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest.
  • Submissions will be judged on taste and appearance.
  • The Contest Representatives will tally all of the ballots. The contestant with the highest score in each category will be the winner of that category.

WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT 2:00PM THE DAY OF THE CONTEST.

YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN.

Rules are subject to change.

Register here: 

Pioneer Day Bake Off Rules

Registration is now open for the 125th Anniversary Bake Off at Pioneer Day!

If you are an Amateur, Professional or Youth (under 18), submit either an Apple Pie, Cobbler or Cupcakes for a chance to win an award and major bragging rights.

The judges for the BAKE OFF are Brigit Binns, cookbook author; Andre Averseng, owner and chef of Paso Terra Seafood; and Sara Jester, pastry chef for Artisan Restaurant.

Enter the 125th Anniversary bake off, win bragging rights.

Enter the 125th Anniversary bake off at Pioneer Day, win major bragging rights.

If you’d like to participate in this fun event, here are more details:

Contest Rules for Pioneer Day Bake-Off 

  1. Pre-registration opens 9/12/2014 and closes 9/30/2014. Register below.
  2. Submissions must be home cooked (not store bought).
  3. Contestants may submit only one entry. 
  4. Contestants can be Amateurs, Professionals or Youth under the age of 18.
  5. Categories for baked items are:
    a. Apple pie
    b. Cobbler
    c. Cupcakes
  6. Please do not submit anything that requires refrigeration.
  7. Please deliver your entry in a disposable container or serving dish.
  8. Each submission should include a registration form. Preregister below by 9/30 (preferred, it helps us stay organized) or register the day of the bake off by 10am at the park.
  9. All submissions will become property of the 125th Anniversary committee, to be used in the cake walk.
  10. Winning recipes may be posted on the 125th anniversary website with winners’ permission.

Contest Day:

  • Check-in is from 8:00am to 10:00am on Pioneer Day, October 11, 2014, in the City Park gazebo.
  • The Contest Representatives are Jennifer Bravo and Rene Zavala, assisted by volunteers Pam and Jack Alch.
  • Awards will be given out at 2:00PM.

The Scoring System:

  • Each contestant will be assigned a number for judging so the contestants will be anonymous.
  • Submissions will be judged on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest.
  • Submissions will be judged on taste and appearance.
  • The Contest Representatives will tally all of the ballots. The contestant with the highest score in each category will be the winner of that category.

WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT 2:00PM THE DAY OF THE CONTEST.

YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN.

Rules are subject to change.

Register here. 

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