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Looking Back to 1931: Mayor endorses Spring Street name change, deputies stop robbery 

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. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from Tuesday, May 5, 1931 Paso Robles Spotlight

El Camino Real of Spanish suggested

Would add lustre for tourists and keep romance held

With Mayor Clark S. Smith lending his endorsement to the proposed plan to change the name of Spring Street to the more romantic and traditional El Camino Real, a movement was underway by a citizen’s committee today to effect the change by urging the matter be given consideration by the public and the official city fathers.

While the committee is self appointed and by no means official it is representative of city professional and business life. For the time being the status of the committee is one of sentiment for the proposed change, no close organization effected and members preferring to remain in secret pending a vote on the idea by the citizens generally.

El Camino Real, the King’s Highway, is rich with traditions in which Paso Robles and the county is steeped. Over it, in days of Spanish dominion, rode the friars, soldiers of Spain and the varied commerce of a now almost forgotten hour in American history.

Looking Back Paso Robles in 1931

Mayor places approval on plan

“I am in favor of the proposition,” declared Mayor Smith today. “It would tend to give the highway a single title from end to end, would encourage other communities with mains streets of other names to do so. It would attract tourists because of the romantic background the name would conjure. It is a matter, however, for the citizens to decide. “

Of like sentiment with the mayor was Mrs. Fred Iversen, prominent worker on behalf of county landmarks, who said, “I like the idea but it is one at which we should not jump hastily. Every citizen interested should be given a chance to speak. If my knowledge serves me correctly, the present site of Spring Street is nearly the route followed by El Camino Real in earlier days. I would suggest a straw vote on the proposition to enable the city council an opportunity for guidance if the name change is brought up before them.”

Spring Street, as a name, it was pointed out, although intended to designate the existence of the mineral springs, has lost its significance as such. Hardly a city in the United States, one person declared, has not a “Spring” street. In the majority of instances, it was said, the names are given with no springs background to account for the choice. The Paso Robles Spring Street in consequence loses force, it was thought.

Citizens asked to comment on plan

So that Paso Roblans may voice their opinions freely on the question of changing the name the Paso Robles Spotlight invites all readers to make free use of the Reader’s Forum for comment. Letters of comment, for and against, will be filed for the city council’s consideration.

Change the name of Spring Street? Yes? No?

Intense interest is expected to be developed in the matter observers believe.

Templeton robbery thwarted by sheriff deputies

“Hands up and keep them up!” This command made by deputy sheriffs Saturday morning in the White Cabin café, Templeton, startled early morning patrons. Simultaneously with the command three men, object of the command, elevated their hands. While deputy sheriff John Lowery kept the men covered with his pistol, William Hennessy, deputy sheriff, frisked them for weapons.

The men, J.B. Via, 30; L. Stai, 36; and R.V. Berry, 24, were wanted in connection with the theft of a car in Bakersfield and the holdup of a San Ardo store Friday night.

Warned by the sheriff’s office at Salinas that the suspects were headed south, Sheriff Lowery dispatched Lowery and Hennessy to search for them along the highways.

When the deputies reached Templeton they saw a car answering the description of a Buick sedan furnished them by Salinas, parked outside the White Cabin lunch room.

While deputy Hennessey kept guard with the machine gun, officer Lowery entered the room and commanded the three men at the counter to throw up their hands.

Carrying guns

When searched, it was found that two were carrying .45 frontier model pistols and the other a .38 revolver. A 25-35 rifle was also discovered in the car for emergency use.

The car in which they were traveling is claimed to be the one stolen from postmaster Scott of Porterville Thursday night.

The three men will be held in jail here for the Salinas authorities.


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.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

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