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Looking Back: 1887 was a good year to buy the farm 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of the society’s Vice President Nancy Tweedie and Research Director Jan Cannon. Photography of old newspapers is by Gigi Greene. 

Excerpts from the September 10, 1887, Paso Robles Leader:

Town lots and farms

–It is unnecessary perhaps to remind the public that if they wish town lots a lowest prices they should call on me, as every lot in Paso Robles has to pass through my hands. It is impossible for any one to sell except at higher figures than those charged by me. I have also a number of very desireable lots at private sale which can be obtained at prices which insure a good profit on the investment.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page of the September 10, 1887 issue of the Paso Robles Leader.


In the line of farming property, I have the fullest line in this section, embracing anything from 2 ½ to 12,000 acres, and at any price from $6 to $100. I am handling these on very small margins and any one wishing such lands will consult his own interest by consulting me.

Settlers who wish Government land within reasonable distance can also be accommodated at low rates. Some choice claims can be had by immediate application

S.W. Fergusson

50,000 acres of the well-known Paso de Robles, Santa Ysabel, Eureka and Huer Huero Ranchos

Elsewhere on the front page 50,000 acres of prime land, available in subdivisions of 20 acres and upward can be had from the West Coast Land Company for $25 an acre.

Located on the Salinas river, in the center of these ranchos, the most beautiful natural park on the Pacific Coast, is a growing town. It has the credit of building the first bridge across the Salinas river, is now erecting a $6000 public school house, and will be supplied with water in 60 days.

Every tract has thrifty timber for domestic use and well water at 20 to 40 feet, and in many places, living streams and springs of pure water. On this immense tract there is no waste land; the soil is rich and deep, the climate is unsurpassed.

The rainfall is sufficient without irrigation.

And all the lands are especially adapted to wheat, fruit, vine culture, also olives.

Our mineral wealth

Gold, silver, iron, chrome, cinnabar, petroleum and more are making San Luis Obispo “a marvelous county,” seemed to be positioning the county to take a place on the world’s mining stage, as reported in this article.

Editorial comment: Today, as reported by The Diggings, an online resource about mining activity, San Luis Obispo County has 1996 mining claims, of which only 52 are active. Probably not a good time to try prospecting for a living.

The Wine House and billiard hall

We have as fine a billiard table as there is in the State. The bar is constantly supplied with the choicest wines, liquors and cigars. The Wine House will be kept as a quiet retreat for gentlemen who desire to pass a few hours pleasantly.

Editorial comment: Sounds like the perfect place to celebrate buying the farm for $25 an acre, or drowning one’s sorrows because the mine failed.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, (805) 239-4556.

Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446,, (805) 227-0440.

Creative Concrete & Design delivers the highest level of professional concrete work. Operating in San Luis Obispo County since 2002, Karl Rush brings 35 years of concrete experience to every job and will ensure that you receive the very best quality work. Over the years they have completed a great many works on residential homes. They are very creative and willing to explore options for your next project. Concrete projects have many factors to consider to bring your vision to life., (805) 896-1384.

Golden Anchor Financial Services is committed to helping you find the right mortgage product for your needs. They understand that every borrower is different, and offer a variety of products to meet individual requirements. They make the process of securing a mortgage simple and straightforward by offering you the latest in financial tools that enable you to make sound financial choices. Call them at (805) 473-7733 on the Central Coast or (559) 473-7733 in the Central Valley.

1800 El Pomar is the site of a historic Templeton ranch located just three miles east of town. The property features an iconic, aged redwood barn, 3 story tank house, original farmhouse with an outdoor garden, original water tank structures, and many other original ranch buildings. Set on 20+ acres of vineyards, the 360-degree views of rolling oak-studded hills and surrounding vines are a photographer’s dream. A prime ceremony location exists in the vineyards behind the barn between two beautiful oaks. The northwest-facing location creates plenty of shade for your guests in an early to late afternoon setting. A perfect venue with plenty of open space to customize your wedding or event.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.