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Looking Back to 1930: Lack of housing in city is acute, say rental agents 

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 Thursday, October 16, 1930, Paso Robles Spotlight

Oil workers influx sets precedent in demand for quarters

Need building—modern construction sought by prospective tenants as families come in

Marked revival of oil interests in the Paso Robles-Atascadero districts has resulted in a grave housing shortage. This is the gist of opinions made today by leading real estate men and women of the city.

To date, seventeen families, connected with the Continental enterprise at San Miguel, are seeking homes. With additional families to come in through a realignment of supporting interests of Upton well near Shandon, the situation was seen as acute.

Partial solution of the problem may be reached by the speedy completion of the Bell building, Thirteenth and Pine streets. All real estate persons interviewed today favored construction of a downtown bungalow court.

Court needed

“There is no doubt in my mind that a bungalow court in the downtown section would be a paying proposition,” said G. Ellis Wiest, rental agent. “Paso Robles is facing a housing shortage and it must be met in some way. The increased interest in oil operations is bringing into our midst new citizens. These should be provided for since the possibility of establishing a well-defined oil industry here is not remote.”

Wiest asserted that he has had an average of ten calls per week for houses, with modern construction favored, indicating, he said, a profitable venture for builders.

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Cites shortage

Supporting Wiest is J.A. Pierce, prominent Paso Robles landholder.

“Without question, the city is facing a housing shortage,” Pierce said. “Construction of a centrally located apartment building would prove successful from a rental standpoint. The construction of the building at Thirteenth and Pine streets will aid materially in meeting the sudden demand brought about by an influx of oil workers and their families. Possibly more facilities will be needed as oil activity becomes general in the district.”

Modern construction is the thing, according to Mrs. Daisy Clifford, rental executive. Houses built to modern standards have found ready occupancy, she declared.

Paralysis cure experiment is success here

Paso Robles Hot Springs medical director and aide in triumph, cite Roosevelt

Patient recovers partial use of limbs after exercise in the therapeutic pool.

Following experiments with a therapeutic pool in Paso Robles Hot Springs hotel in which a paralytic lent himself to the experiment with partial recovery of the use of his limbs as a result,

Dr. Benjamin Cunningham, medical director of the Paso Robles Hot Springs Baths, and Gus Melgard, chief masseur, today were verging on a repetition here of the therapeutic pool idea, first sponsored at Warm Springs, Georgia, and made famous by the remarkable recovery from paralysis of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York.

The experiment with the therapeutic pool has been going on for several weeks and has been shrouded in utmost secrecy. The patient selected agreed to put himself at the disposal of the operators.

Theory is sound

The theory of paralytic treatment, to be elaborated upon by Dr. Cunningham and Mr. Melgard is based upon the principle of human bodies displacing their own weight in water. The displacement results in motion with lessened effort. This principle combined water heated to body temperature briefly forms the treatment as discovered.

In the case of Roosevelt, he did not ascribe his recovery to the curative powers of the waters. Roosevelt accounted for his recovery by emphasizing swimming in body-temperature water. It was the exercise of swimming that gradually gave him back the use of his legs.

“Now that I have found what swimming has done for me under these conditions,” Governor Roosevelt wrote recently, “I am anxious to make it possible for other invalids to enjoy its benefits. The tremendous importance of mineral springs as curative agents has long been recognized in Europe.”

Swimming is aid

Recent investigations by the Georgia Warm Sprints Foundation has demonstrated that swimming exercises in tepid water will restore nerve force to paralyzed limbs.

According to Governor Roosevelt, the result of this investigation will lead to the general use of hot springs for the rehabilitation of the crippled and the helpless.

It was Governor Roosevelt’s experience that led Mr. A.L. Richmond, Dr. Cunningham and Mr. Melgard to promote the experiment here. Gratifying results attended the experiment. It was found that, following the warm springs procedure, partial restoration of limb power was possible.

The therapeutic pool experiments are to be continued the principals said today.

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.