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Looking Back to 1908: Robbers at work during the week, citizens contemplate sidewalks 

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 Research Director Jan Cannon. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from Saturday, May 23, 1908 Paso Robles Record

Heaton’s store entered, goods were taken

Sometime before ten o’clock Wednesday evening, E.C. Moore entered Heaton’s store and made away with goods valued at $200 or more.

E.C. Moore has been here for a week or so. He is a good appearing fellow and has an eye to business. He was figuring on putting in an ice plant in the Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel. The last few days he had been making himself familiar with the store of R.C. Heaton.

Entrance was made through the back door of the store. Once in the robber went straight to the show cases where the knives and razors are kept and helped himself to a goodly supply, securing 156 high grade knives, two dozen safety razors, two dozen common razors and some cheaper knives. After securing the knifes he procured two fine leather suitcases, which he used to carry away his plunder. Before leaving the robber took three hammerless shotguns, one of which he left at the Alexander Hotel for his board bill. One of the suitcases he sold for the small sum of $3.00.

Paso Robles in 1908

Mr. Heaton claims that before the robber left the store he turned his attention to the large safe in the office. It is believed that he opened the large front doors, that is he opened them, but Mr. Heaton is not sure that they were securely locked, probably only the day lock on.

What thwarted the robbers’ plans was the fact that inside the large doors is another steel door, locked by a key. These doors are of hard steel and would have required some time to open them. Mr. Heaton considers himself lucky that the robber did not succeed in getting into the safe as he had between $500 and $600 besides jewelry valued at four or five hundred dollars.

The robber left on train No. 17 Thursday morning early. The police are on his trail and it is hoped will soon have the robber safely behind bars.

Alsup studio was robbed of cameras and beans

Sometime Sunday night robbers entered the tent of the Alsup Studio on Pine Street, broke open the dark room and made away with a camera valued at $50 and a camera belonging to Mrs. E. Bollinger. The view camera and case were taken down to the railroad track and there broken open and the lenz taken out, leaving the case and the demolished camera to be picked up. The camera belonging to Mr. Bollinger was taken away.

In an interview with Mr. Alsup, he stated that he believed the work was done by a former employee of his who knew just where he kept his camera. Nothing in the darkroom was touched except the cameras and the room was filled with plates and racks with plates drying. Mr. Alsup always takes the lenz of his large camera home with him and this fact was known to the robber as that camera was not touched.

One other thing that was taken and will help the robber on his way was a large bottle of Spanish beans, nicely cooked. Nothing was found of the kettle or beans which clearly shows that Mr. Alsup is a past master in the art of cooking beans Spanish.

Interesting meeting held

Among the topics discussed at the Citizens Progressive Club Wednesday evening was a report that the probably cost of installing a cement sidewalk would be 12 cents or less per foot.

A motion was carried instructing that the resolution as regard to sidewalks be presented to the Board of City Trustees for action and that the committee’s report accompany the resolution.

Other matters on the evening’s agenda included the type of street lights to install in the residential area, the cost of those lights and who would pay for them and “That eyesore, the dumping grounds for the city’s filth.”

The matter about the post office at Union was also brought up by E.M. Bennett. It appears that since Cholame has been cut off the mail route that some of the other towns in that neighborhood have a petition before the government for a mail route to come from the other side. Now this would stop all mail from going out from Paso Robles and thus cut off a lot of revenue of this city. When P.R. Willit owned the land on with the Union post office is situated he promised to give a deed to the same to the Paso Robles Improvement Club with the understanding that it should be used for post office purposes.

The land has since been sold to R. McNeal. A a committee was appointed to meet with McNeal and propose that the land be deeded to the Citizen’s Progressive Club so that the mail route will not be lost and with it the trade comes this way.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

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