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Looking Back: Judge aims to naturalize 4000 new citizens, state hospital hosts open house 

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.

Excerpts from Thursday, May 10, 1956 The Paso Robles Journal:

Judge Lyons aims for goal of 4000 new citizens

June 15 has real significance for Judge Ray B. Lyon, Judge of the Superior Court, for it is on that date this next group of “new citizens” is scheduled to appear for the court’s twice-yearly naturalization hearings and Judge Lyons stands to possibly reach his “4000 mark.”

Deeply interested in assisting aliens to accomplish their goal judge has presided at the naturalization of 3953 persons since becoming Judge of the Superior Court.

“And I have never presided at one of these hearings without a special surge of pleasure,: he recalls. “None of us can secure a better ojbect lesson in patriotism than to see all the hopes and yearnings and strivings that come to harvest when these people finally find it possible to swear allegiance to this nation of which they have so long wished to become a part.”

One of Judge Lyon’s greatest pleasures are the letters and visits he receives from persons who have become citizens in the Superior Court at San Luis Obispo. And while compiling one of the state’s best judicial records through the handing of over 20,000 proceedings during his judicial career, he always has time to give the advice or help work out problems these fledgling citizens sometimes bring.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page.

Nearly 400 attend open house at state hospital

By Ruth Gartin

Three-hundred and eighty-four visitors passed through the doors Sunday at Atascadero State Hospital’s Open House, marking the close of Mental Health Week activities at the institution. A like number were on hand for curtain time Friday night when patients presented the comedy hit, “Stalag 17.”

Tours were conducted yesterday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by nurses, psychiatric technicians and a crew of patient-escorts.

Special guests included Superior Court Judge Roy B. Lyon and Mrs. Lyon. The judge addressed an 11 o’clock audience in which he hailed ASH as the most progressive such hospital in the country.

Two types

He pointed out that the hospital cares for two types of patients, the sex psychopath and the criminally insane; adding that the emotional security program there has grown by leaps and bounds and that “there is a chance for everyone to be rehabilitated.”

As one entered the doors of the hospital leading into the massive lobby, there was no obvious distinction between patient and visitor. Nurses in crisp white uniforms directed visitors to the guest register (manned by patients), and then the tours were formed with at least two patients, wearing tags, identifying them only as “Escort Service,” leading the way.

It was more like a tour of a college campus. Here, the open door policy prevails. Only main exit doors and ward doors are locked. Majority of the patients enjoy their own rooms and these doors remain unlocked.

Maximum security

Maximum security with a minimum penal appearance prevails at ASH, yet it is classed as a maximum security institution. Security officers are on duty at all exit doors and allow passage only to those patients with parole privileges. Red cards permit movement withing the entire hospital with very few restrictions; while white cards permit ground parole, including the immediate hospital grounds and some of the surrounding hospital acreage.

As visitors passed through the main door into the hospital facility itself, they were issued green passes bearing a number. One of the security boys passed me through and I was escorted to the auditorium where I heard the ASH band in concert. The back into the lobby to wait for a regular tour to form.

Visitors mingle

In the meantime, visitors mingled with some of the patients, browsed around the Prospector’s Club collection and leather displays in the garden area.

Then the head nurse announced that the next tour was forming. I joined a party of some 20 persons and we headed for the main door, next to which the security officers have their office. Passes were issued, the door unlocked.

A husky guard shut it again.

“Number 45 is missing,” he said with some concern.

“Hm,” I mused to myself. “Imagine losing a visitor.”

No one spoke. Officers checked through their cards again.

Then it happened. I shifted the camera to my other hand

And a small slip of green paper fluttered to the floor. It couldn’t be! But it was and the “45” seemed to stand out twice. (Continued on page 2)

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.

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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: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at