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Looking Back to 1931: Schools have record enrollment, Pioneer Day plans proceed 


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 Wednesday, September 16, 1931, Paso Robles Advertiser

Schools in town open with big increase

The three schools opened in Paso Robles on Monday with a combined enrollment of 733 pupils. Two hundred and eight high school students enrolled, and by now are settled down to the regime of studying. Periods were made to last one hour instead of the old 40 minutes. Six of the thirty-eight school teachers are new in Paso Robles. Morse Van Horn is president of the student body of the high school this year. Plans are underway for a primary election for other officers next week.

One hundred and fifteen students registered at the junior high school for the 7th and 8th grades. There is one new teacher on the staff, Miss Romilda Rowbottom. She will teach the subject, new this year, of social science, and also music and domestic science, announces Glenn Speck, principal. The office of the building has been renovated and repapered. Another progressive change is moving the library from the old cramped quarters to a roomier location.

A period system, to correspond with that of the high school has been adopted, with seven one-hour periods during the day and two of 30 minutes in the late afternoon for physical education.

Miss Lorena Edgar, principal, has 338 pupils enrolled in the grammar school. Thirty-five of these are entered in the opportunity school. This training school has been opened in the old junior high school manual arts annex. Mrs. Clara Proctor is the principal of this school and Miss Grace Springett is her assistant.

Backward students, and those finding speaking the English language difficult, will be trained here with special courses. Weaving, basketry, and manual training will be taught here. Mrs. Proctor was a member of the junior high school faculty last year.

A new room has been added to the Shandon High School, which opened this week with 33 students.

Paso Robles in 1931

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Pioneer Day plans

Municipal band organization started

Plans are being made to organize a municipal band to participate in the Pioneer Day fete, October 12. Thomas Stevens, the music instructor of the local high school has signified his intention of wielding the baton for the organization. Jim Hibbard has been placed in charge of the organization by the Pioneer Day central committee. Rehearsals will start next week according to reports.

Pioneer Day to be advertised by radio

The Chamber of Commerce, according to secretary A.J. Beaty, is planning to have Paso Robles Pioneer Day which is to be October 12, advertised over the air. The Durkee system will use some of the material, either over KPO or KGO. The Shell Services, Inc., and the Shell Happy Time will also feature the Paso Robles celebration.

Engineer on road run down and killed

Norman Hamilton, 35, died at the Atascadero Hospital Monday afternoon from injuries sustained when he was knocked down and run over by the rear wheel of a six-ton truck on the state highway under construction near Santa Margarita.

Hamilton was assistant resident engineer on the road building job, and as he was squatted between the truck and an ord used for leveling the hot asphalt, measuring the depth of the paving, the truck was backed up, passing over Hamilton’s body, crushing his legs, left side, and chest. He was rushed to the hospital by other workers but died within half an hour.

Henry Burns, employee of the Hanrahan Construction company of San Francisco, and driver of the truck was unaware of Hamilton’s presence in the back of the truck when it was put into motion. No charges were made against the truck driver.

There were upwards of 20 men working on the ord at the time of the accident, but Hamilton’s crumpled body was first noticed by the driver of the truck. This man was so upset by the accident that he has since refused to continue his driving job.

Hamilton resided in San Luis Obispo and was well-known and well-liked in that city. He was married but recently to Miss Beatrice Levy who at that time was in the office of Dr. Allen F. Gillihan, health officer.

Other survivors are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles O. Hamilton of Oroville.

The body is at the Richardson funeral home in San Luis Obispo where arrangements are being made to ship him to San Jose for interment Friday or Saturday.

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.

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.