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Looking Back to 1914: E.G. Lewis announces plans for Atascadero building plant 

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. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from Wednesday, February 18, 1914, Paso Robles Leader:

House building plant for Atascadero

The current issue of the Woman’s National Weekly, University City, gives the following details of negotiations just completed by E.G. Lewis for the establishment at Atascadero of a concern employing 1000 men.

A contract has just been closed and signed between the United States Construction Corporation of Chicago and Gary, Ind. Manufacturers of steel frame buildings, houses and bungalows, and the Colony Holdings Corporation of Atascadero, Cal., through which the construction company binds itself to build, during the present year, a branch plant to supply the entire Pacific states with its product as the industrial City of Atascadero Colony. This plant is to employ a thousand skilled men the design of the buildings is to be approved by the colony’s commissioner of architecture, Mr. Bliss.

This company makes famous steel structure buildings and has of late given especial attention to a line of fine steel frame bungalows and houses of beautiful designs and most complete equipment.

history E.G. Lewis Atascadero

Bungalows are fireproof

These steel frame bungalows are fireproof, finished in hardwoods on the interior while the exterior is of cement stucco laid on expanded metal lath so that the bungalow is to all intents a concrete building with steel frame rafters and joists instead of wood.

Particular attention has been given to beauty of design and to convenience and comfort. These steel-frame bungalows and houses are equipped with electric lights, electric heaters, electric kitchen stoves and even with electric bed warmers. Every modern device that has been proven a time or work saver is installed in these model structures. The decorations may be anything the purchaser desires, while the floors are of polished hardwood. The bedrooms have disappearing beds of steel frames, which fold and disappear within what appears to be handsome bookcases set into the walls. Open fireplaces for wood brighten the house in cold weather although they are heated throughout by electricity. The bathrooms are of white enamel throughout and even the plumbing is already installed.

Cost less than other material

These houses and bungalows cost much less than wooden or stone or brick houses and are being built to range in cost from $1000 to $25,000 according to the desires of the purchasers. The main plant of the construction company will remain at Gary, Ind., but the plant at Atascadero will be only next to it in size and importance.

Under the contract just closed by Mr. Lewis for the Colony, the construction company is to ship to Atascadero and erect within sixty days a completed bungalow of each cost from $1000 to $6000, at its own expense, erecting them complete and ready for occupancy before the convention in May. The Atascadero plant of the company is to be completed and ready to supply the Pacific Coast trade of the company before the end of this year. The Colony Holding Corporation is also made the exclusive sales agent of the company’s entire product, from the $1000 bungalows to its $100,00 and $200,00 steel frame buildings sold on the Pacific Coast.

The demand for these fine structures, which are the embodiment of the most modern perfection in house building and equipment, has become enormous, necessitating the establishment of a Pacific Coast branch plant of large size for their manufacture.

After other big plants

Mr. Lewis has been on the trail of the company and finally closed the contract securing this great industry which will give employment to a thousand skilled men to begin with, and probably double that number within the second year, for Atascadero. Negotiations are also now pending for the establishment of the Pacific Coast factory of one of the largest paint, enamel, varnish and wood finishing concerns in America at Atascadero. These two large plants, with the canning, preserving, storage and other plants of the Colony Holding Corporation, would give employment to several thousand skilled men.

Homes will be complete

The president of the construction company, Dr. W.F. Phillips, spent several days at University City last week completing the details of the contract with Mr. Lewis, who represented the Colony Holding Corporation. This will give those who are going to make their homes in Atascadero an opportunity to have their houses built right in the Colony by the most skilled artisans, architects and engineers and of the most modern design and construction and equipment at a great saving. Those who attend the convention will see six sample buildings, complete in every detail, while the architects of the company will be on hand to design anything wanted.

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.