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Looking Back to 1930: Council feels need for more water, city providing sleeping rooms 

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 the Wednesday, November 18, 1930 Paso Robles Advertiser:

Water supply gradually diminishing

At the meeting of the city council Monday night, it was brought out that the water situation in Paso Robles is becoming acute. For fifteen years Paso Robles has had a water problem to face in finding sufficient water to meet the demands of the increasing population.

The water level of the big well put down by the city last summer is gradually lowering, and the city reservoir has receded some seven feet.

Loss from irrigation

Atascadero pumps water from the bed of the Salinas River upstream for municipal use and irrigation. The golf greens take a huge amount of water. On down the river, the alfalfa farmers pump day and night to irrigate their fields, and by the time the water flows past the natural chalk dam south of town, there is very little water left for Paso Robles.

San Miguel’s water supply is augmented by the Estrella, Huer Huero and San Marcos rivers.

Paso Robles water shortage 1930

Click here to read the full front page.

Johnson to investigate

City Engineer Johnson was appointed by the board to find out if possible just what the situation is and to sink a test well in the river bottom on the west side. The present wells are sunk in quicksand, and this sifts in and clogs up the pipe. Unless a gravel bed is found, the new well will meet quicksand. The present pumps work for 40 minutes, and then are shut off for 40 minutes continually.

The attempt being made by San Luis Obispo to plan for a dam on the Salinas River near Santa Margarita was discussed, and it was brought out that San Luis Obispo had tried to do the same thing, but failed fifteen years ago.

Sulphur concentrate

H.H. Suest submitted a tentative contract to the council for concentrating the sulphur water overflow from the municipal bath house for medicinal uses, and the same was found agreeable.

An abatement was ordered declaring the Cahill building a nuisance.

Start drilling on test well

The necessary equipment was moved into the river bottom Wednesday, and actual drilling will commence Thursday for a test well for the city of Paso Robles. The site selected is that used for a gravel pit some years ago.

W.H. Porter is in charge of operations.

City to rent building for sleeping room

Jail too small to house itinerants; Red Cross burden heavy for coming winter.

The City of Paso Robles assumed an important share of the care of impoverished itinerants through action of the city council Monday night, when it was agreed to rent the old laundry building next to the telephone building on 14 street to use as a ‘flop house.”

Ed Vassar, an owner, has agreed to rent the place and partition it off for $25 a month rent. The place will probably be used through the middle of April.

When appeals were made to the Red Cross for a place to sleep, each one cared for costs of 50 cents. The Red Cross funds were fast eaten up through these appeals.

The building is fireproof, and ticks would be provided for the men as well as a stove. Besides providing a warm place to sleep, this place will keep the men off the streets.

Appeals increase

According to a statement of Rev. Vincent Jones of the Red Cross, the donations of that organization have increased over 100 percent for October of this year as compared to last. With winter just around the corner, the need will be still greater.

The itinerants who stopped at the “hobotel” Tuesday and Wednesday nights helped to fix up the place, painting the inside of the room, and one, an ex-artist, decorated the windows to give it a frosted effect.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to the 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.

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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.