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Looking Back: Pioneer Day Celebration in 1936 

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.

Excerpt of Oct. 12, 1936, Daily Telegram of Paso Robles, CA

Big Crowd at Sixth Annual Pioneer Day Celebration

–By Frank Gehring

All traffic on San Luis Obispo County highways led to Paso Robles Monday when the Almond City was host at its sixth and greatest Pioneer day.

Highways from all directions were crowded with traffic, moving in a steady stream to the big north county get-together.

On the pavement was car just behind car, while on the soft dirt beside the concrete were groups of horsemen and horsewomen, riding to the varied entertainment, which the city was offering free to all who would come.

Pioneer Day 1936

Click to view the first page of the Oct. 12, 1936, Daily Telegram of Paso Robles, CA, featuring Pioneer Day coverage.


Contests Open

From 9 a.m. when the horseshoe pitching contests opened, to the close of the events at sundown, there was something doing every minute to delight the record-breaking crowd that attended.

Moving promptly at 10:30 the two-mile parade passed through the business section before a massed crowd, at least 20,000 visitors being in the city to view the events of the day.

Only the highest praise was heard from everyone on the work of the general committee, for the smoothness with which the many events were conducted, giving credit for the efficiency which handled a great multitude of large and small details to make the celebration a perfect one.

Perfect hosts

Gene Booth, general chairman, Jared Brush, assistant general chairman, and representatives of civic, fraternal and patriotic organizations, and the people of the city as a whole, worked with the utmost enthusiasm to be perfect hosts to the central coast section of California, in a striking and brilliant review of the pioneer days of the section.

Parade Is Outstanding Fete Event

Surpassing all previous efforts, the Pioneer Day parade at Paso Robles Monday, was an outstanding event, in an outstanding day of celebration.

With many brightly uniformed bands with beautiful floats, gaily dressed marching units, and with horsemen and horsewomen in gaudy “chaps”, brilliant-hued shirts and bandana, overalls and boots and smart modern riding costumes, between each division, the parade was highly interesting.

Following the grand marshal, Henry Ramage, and his two aides Mrs. Lucy Brown and Peter Daniels, was the pageant of the Flags, showing the 12 different banners which have flown over California in its history.

Beginning with the Royal Flag of King Ferdinand, the banners told in color the varying rulers of the land, to the 48 Star-Spangled Banner of today, riders in the costume of the period carried the banners, gifts of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Blacksmith Shop

Noticeable among the many entries were the pioneer day blacksmith shop, complete with hand-worked bellows and forge, the entry of the Simmler farm center, in the community division.

Another float reflecting the gay and dangerous early days, was the San Miguel community entry, which showed the famous bandit, Joaquin Murietta and his band, when they were resting in hiding near San Miguel in 1852.

Schools, too, showed the historic influence in their entries. Paso Robles Jr. high offered a scene at the Rancho Grande, with gaily dressed senors and senoritas on the terrace of an adobe ranch house.
Cholame School offered an Indian scene, the truck covered with real Indian blankets and with pupils of the school and braves…

Celebration Highlights

In the old vehicle section a 1905 Auburn, and early day Reo and a pioneer Model T Ford attracted much attention.

Whiskered men, all over the place, with whiskers all over the face, added to the pioneer atmosphere of the celebration.

J and R Almond Ranches had an almond grader in operation on a float, with a group of young women, labelled “The Nut Gang,” throwing almonds to the crowd.

Two girls in bright scarlet jackets and white trousers of satin carried the banner ahead of the Taft Union high school band, of 50 musicians in military uniforms of two shade of blue.

Efficiency in “dishing out” the ton of free stew prepared by Roy Cammack and his committee came in for much praise by thousands of visitors.

A huge Scotch longhorn steer, and a Mexican longhorn, led in the parade by cowboys from Cholame ranch, caused some of the spectators to draw back from the procession as the animals passed.

As usual, the Standard Oil announcer car was on the job, acting for the committee in telling the crowd all about it.

Promptly at noon, Gene Booth, general chairman, announced through the loudspeakers that the combined the bands would play “The Star Spangled Banner” as a tribute to the pioneers who are gone, and the crowd stood at attention, the men with bared heads and the women with hands over hearts as the national anthem was played.

Queen of Pioneers

Becky Adams who reigned as queen over the Paso Robles Sixth Annual Pioneer Day celebration Monday. Pioneer Princesses attending the queen were Mrs. Alice M Hatch, Mrs. Lenora Draper, Mrs. Emelia Ernst and Mrs. Anna Rude.

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.