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Looking Back: Paso Robles business in 1895 

Looking Back

Click here to see the full front page of the Saturday, April 6, 1895 Paso Robles Record

Editorial excerpts from the Paso Robles Record, Saturday, April 6, 1895

City passes new business license ordinance

The city established new business license fees. People doing business in the city who failed to take out a business license were subject to fines and up to 90 days in jail. Examples of businesses that required licenses to operate included:

  • An auctioneer back in the day had to pay $6 a quarter, or more if the auctioneer wasn’t “permanent.”
  • Peddling fruit, meat, vegetables,or other merchandise produced out of the county, “by other than the producer, with a wagon” cost $10 per quarter.
  • A billiard hall had to pay $2 a quarter, a fortune teller $10 per month, and you could operate a merry-go-round for $1 a day.
  • A laundry with two or more male persons paid $3 per quarter. A stallion was $5 per year and a bull $2 per year.


The secret societies of Paso Robles

Apparently, Paso Robles was a favorite location for secret societies in 1895 because many of those societies publicized their meetings in the Paso Robles Record. Among the secret societies meeting regularly were the Grange, the I.O.O.F., and the Native Sons. Churches received equal listing, right after the secret societies.

Business and health

  • If you raised barley, you could get it rolled at the Banner Mill for $2 a ton.
  • Get the family carriage painted at W.L. Dunshee on Spring Street and board the horse at Fashion Stable on Park Street.
  • The 1895 version of a hack could apparently be stopped by a visit to Eagle Pharmacy where you could also get your fill of Eagle Baking Powder. Or, one could choose to go to the Butler Institute and be cured of a variety of addictions.

News from around the nation

The Paso Robles Record also kept local residents up to date on the latest news about the bachelor’s tax being considered in the state of Illinois. Representative Wallace of the Illinois Legislature proposed imposing a tax on “male persons over the age of 32” who had never been married. The purpose of the tax was to ultimately construct an “Old Maids Home” to provide for “worthy and indigent single women” over the age of 38.

Read previous Looking Back articles

This “Looking Back” view at Paso Robles history comes from one of the hundreds of local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. Several local newspapers, dating from the 1800s, have reported on local, national and world events, providing priceless historical views of our community that are not available from any other source. The Historical Society is seeking community support for the multi-phased Newspaper Preservation Project to help fund the transfer of these aged and fragile pages to microfilm and digital images. See the society website for more information about becoming a member or donating to any phase of this project.

The Paso Robles Daily News is pleased to support this important project. Watch this space for future “Looking Back” articles.



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