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Looking Back to 1917: Third annual Halloween Jinks scheduled, horses die in fire 

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, October 27, 1917, The Paso Robles Record

Halloween jinks

The third annual Halloween Jinks to be held next Wednesday evening at the Athletic Park will be beyond a doubt better and bigger than its predecessors. This year the Home Guards have taken charge of the affair and have been working tirelessly for some time preparing features of unusual merit.

The big feature of the evening’s entertainment will be the pig minstrel show under the personal direction of Prof. Clarke and includes in its cast such well-known artists of black face comedy as Hollinger and Clarke and men of international fame Flanders and Lewis will positively be in the case and will demonstrate the correct way to handle tambourines and bones and last but not least will be Dr. Gates serving as interlocutor. In addition to these world-renowned stars, the cast will include many others whose fame as singers and jokers has reached such remote corners of the earth as San Miguel and Shandon.

Paso Robles history 1917

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There are numerous rumors of another special feature of great merit that will be shown to the thousand visitors who are expected to attend and is known as the witch dance. This is positively the first appearance of this troupe of dancers in this country and they were secured at a great expense so if you have never seen a witch dance don’t forget the date.

In addition to the big show there will be a jitney dance and as first-class music has been secured and the platform is being put in A1 shape for the occasion, those who care to dance can rest assured of a regular time.

Sure, there will be spinning wheels where you can win a big dollar, a box of candy or something, to say nothing of the many other stands and novelties to keep those who don’t care for dancing busy.

In fact, nothing in the amusement line has been overlooked so no matter what you enjoy you will be sure to find it there.

Also don’t forget that costume as this is a costume affair and everybody else is going masked and it will cost you more to get in if you are not in costume.

The charge at the gate will admit you to all of the shows for free. The admission to the grounds is 25 cents for those not in costume. School children free.

Don’t forget the date, Wednesday, October 31, 1917.

Horses burned

Monday evening one of the worst fires that this city has known for several years broke out in the livery and feed stables belonging to B.R. Smith on Pine Street.

The fire which was of unknown origin started in the extreme north end of the barn and by the time the fire department arrived that portion of the stables was a mass of flames and the entire place looked doomed, and the fact that the southern section of the building was saved speaks volumes for the firefighting ability of the fire department.

The part of the stables destroyed was used as a feed stable and at the time of the fire was occupied by nine fine workhorses belonging to M. Franklin. Owing to the fire starting in that section of the building it was impossible to save the horses and seven of them were cremated in the building and two broke through the flames and one was so badly burned that it had to be shot and the other was taken to Dr. Wards for treatment.

Mr. Franklin had a few days before he brought his horses from the Jolon country, where he had been farming for several years and expected to take them out to the Lovgren ranch in a few days where he intended to farm. The horses were not insured.

All the horses, buggies and harnesses belonging to Mr. Smith were in the south section of the building and were saved, so that aside from the building which was insured he lost some hay. His loss is estimated at $500.

Too much credit cannot be given to the firemen for their splendid work and to those who, although not members of the department, so readily lent their assistance not only to the department but in getting out the horses and buggies.

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.