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Looking Back to 1915: News from the Atascadero colony 

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, September 5, 1915, Paso Robles Record:

Colonists want an open door

–The remarkable degree to which Atascaderians are governed by the Lewis letters was shown at the last meeting of the A.B.C. when that body adopted without a dissenting vote the set of resolutions prepared by its executive committee and presented for adoption by Mr. Cornelius.

The colonists have come together from the ends of the world almost, in response to the appeal of those letters. It follows, automatically, that they are in harmony with the spirit of those letters or they would not have come. Hence the action of the A.B.C was not slavish, but simply the natural expression of normal men and women who know what they want and are here because they think it is to be found here.

Atascadero colony 1915

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The resolutions declare for the single store, against shutting out other goods or shutting in the colonists, expressly state that the single store “must compete in the open market for support,” express the belief that its centralized power will enable it to compete successfully, declare that all franchise values and the value of the colony trade in any given line are created by the presence of the colonists and that, when things are finally shaped up in their final form the profits from them should go to the colonists and the certificate holders.

The persons signing the resolutions as presented are the chairmen of the various A.B.C. committees.

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The officers of the recently organized aid society of the federated church are as follows: Mrs. C.A. Love, president; Mrs. E.B. Long, 1st Vice; Mrs. E.A. Berry, 2nd Vice; Mrs. F.A. Cole, Secty; Mrs. E.S. Cornelius, Treasurer. They will meet the second and fourth Wednesday afternoons in the month, thus alternating Wednesdays with the Live Oak Circle.

Colonists were given a chance Saturday night to know how music and “similar sounds” will carry from the Civic Center to the surrounding hills. One of Mr. Engstrum’s workmen brought his bride home to the camp from Los Angeles and his fellow residents in the camp gave them a hearty welcome.

The colony is just like other places in having its joys and sorrows coming without regard to each other. One day a death message, another a wedding announcement. The latest bereavement reported is that of Mrs. Dunnivant, whose mother has died in Tennessee.

Mr. Francis will attend the National Encampment at Washington, D.C. He was present at the grand review there fifty years ago and is anxious to be with the boys again as what are left of them again march through the streets of the capital.

Mrs. Cornelius has accompanied her aged father on his visit to the San Francisco Fair. The old gentleman is a sufferer from rheumatism.

The pastor of the federated church, Dr. Berry, has decided to build his home near the creek in the flower valley.

Mr. and Mrs. Wink have just had a visit from their daughter and son-in-law. Mr. Balxeer and Commissioner Sinnard have been visited by their wives. The Cornelius family have been visited by Misses May Crozier and Gertrude Irving of Chatham, Ontario.

The Atascadero club is a social club and quite different from the A.B.C., which is the business end of the citizen organization, has a committee out preparing plans for incorporation. This is their first step toward building as they are outgrowing their temporary rooms at headquarters.

The parliamentary law class now has about thirty members.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to the 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.