Paso Robles News|Wednesday, April 24, 2024
You are here: Home » Community » Looking Back to 1932: Bridge snaps with car and passengers
  • Follow Us!

Looking Back to 1932: Bridge snaps with car and passengers 

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 Thursday, March 24, 1932, Paso Robles Advertiser:

The suspension bridge near the S.P. Milling Company at the Atascadero Salinas River crossing collapsed Saturday night while a car was being driven across, throwing 180 feet of bridge flooring, the car and its two occupants 35 feet onto the river bottom.

Mr. and Mrs. Will Erickson of Paso Robles were driving to Creston after having spent the day in Atascadero and as they reached the center of the 200-foot structure, they felt a perceptible movement of the bridge. Although Erickson speeded up the car, the bridge gave way beneath them while they still lacked a car’s span of reaching the other side.

The upper framework collapsed with the rest and a 12 by 12 timber fell across the middle of the car, crushing the rear half. Mr. and Mrs. Erickson made their way to Heilmans’ store nearby, from where they were taken to the Atascadero hospital. Erickson suffered a sprained wrist, loss of one tooth and a lip abrasion, while Mrs. Erickson escaped with only a leg injury.

Both were returned to their home. The car, a 1924 open Buick, was demolished.

Paso Robles history 1932

The bridge was first built some forty years ago but had been remodeled from time to time. Although the bridge was posted to limit load capacities, heavy truckloads of supplies had been passing over it several times daily taking material to the new pipeline being constructed nearby. An extra heavy load had passed over Saturday afternoon and it was thought that the iron trusswork which held up the 180-foot suspension between the two pairs of pillars had been weakened enough to snap under the comparatively light weight of the passenger car.

Eight men are being kept busy at the tedious task of removing the wreckage. A new crossing is being planned and will soon be constructed at a point about 40 rods upstream from the present site. This can be reached by a slight detour from the present road.

Council sees future water supply needed

The city dads held a meeting in regular session Monday night in the city hall to carry on the business of the city. Most of the time was devoted to the discussion of the city’s water problem. While there is plenty of water at the present time, it is feared that the present water supply will be inadequate through the hot summer months.

As the price of $9000 asked for the piece of Ronconi land on which the recent successful 10-inch test well was sunk is considered prohibitive, another site is being sought. A later test well was unsuccessfully drilled near the bank and the next one may be located in the bed of the river.

A letter from R.C. Heaton was read calling attention to four lots in Block 221 in the J.J. Gregory’s Riverside farm which had been off the tax list since before Walter Hughes left because of non-payment of taxes. Heaton stated that he had a chance to get it back and have the state and county taxes paid to date provided he could get a clearance on back taxes from the city of not to exceed $55 before April 1. The matter was rejected after was found that the total taxes due on the lots amounted to $487.77 plus a redemption tax of $73.

An ordinance was read requiting the destruction of weeds and W.I. Reid was awarded a contract for one year for hauling refuse and his bond accepted.

Councilman Orcutt reported for a committee which had met with the property owners on 15th Street between Spring and Oak. The owners had, all but Mr. Gerst, delayed payment for the recent coating of oil placed on that piece because where the oil mix should have been three inches deep, it measured only three-quarters of an inch at the thickest part. Mr. Gerst was ordered reimbursed for his $50 until the matter could be considered further.

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.

Share To Social Media


About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

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