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Looking Back to 1918: Paso Robles sees first woman on a water wagon 

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.

Excerpts from the Sunday, June 26, 1918, Paso Robles Leader:

Woman on water wagon

–Paso Robles is the first city in California we believe to have a woman on the water wagon. Frank Barba who has held that position for a long time has so much to do he had to have an assistant. Now Mrs. Bismark Erdman is on the water wagon. She wears a mans overalls, legging, coat and at a distance looks like a man. She has done a mans work in assisting her husband in uprooting stumps and is said to do it better than her husband does. So far she has not succeeded in climbing down and up on to the high seat just as a man does but she gets there all the same.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page of the June 26, 1918 Paso Robles Leader.

Baptist church holds a get acquainted social

On last Friday evening over 100 people attended the “get acquainted” social at the Baptist church and spent an enjoyable evening with music, recitations, a social hour and refreshments.

After all had visited for an hour ice cream and cake were served. Mr. Bayne froze the cream and it was so good that the 5 gallons were all eaten. The cakes were hooverized, being without jellies or frostings. Everybody present enjoyed the affair very much.

Citizens Bank encourages savings

Life’s pleasures are bestowed by destiny upon those who have the judgment to practice frugality and foresight. Don’t spend all you earn on the passing show. Good things come to those who save now. Join the growing number of young men who have a savings account in our care.

Happenings around town

Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Smith and family returned from their trip to the Santa Cruz Big Trees and Palo Alto, San Jose and Santa Clara last Monday. They report having had a most enjoyable trip.

Mr. and Mrs. Meier have commenced the erection of a new and up to date bungalow on their property on Vine street just west of Twelfth St. that will be an ornament as well as a great beauty thus it goes.

Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Trussler and children will leave Paso Robles next Wednesday for the Yosemite Valley where they expect to spend at least six weeks enjoying the grand scenery. Mr. Trussler has a contract for doing some painting and he conceived the happy idea of having his family have their vacation at the same time. They go by automobile.

P. H. Murphy, county auditor, lost his purse

H. Murphy, our genial County Auditor called upon the Leader yesterday afternoon to see the editor and to pay for his card. He put his hand first one pocket then in another and still another, but no purse was to be found. He had at least $50 in it a short time before and as he told the Leader office was the first one he had called on. He either had his pocket picked or the purse had fallen out of his pocket on the way to depot.

We trust it has found its way to Mr. Murphy by this time.


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, www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org (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, ewarbirds.org, (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. creativeconcreteanddesign.com, (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. www.1800elpomar.com.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

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