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Looking Back to 1932: Business group plans airport near Paso Robles 

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 Wednesday, March 2, 1932, Paso Robles Advertiser:

A group of Paso Robles businessmen met at the Taylor Hotel last Thursday noon to discuss with Robert A. Trow of the safety committee of the aeronautical department of the California Chamber of Commerce, and Marshal C. Hoppin of the state department of commerce, aeronautical division, the feasibility and need of an airport in this district.

Victor Ward was present from Atascadero to assure the group that the city would cooperate with Paso Robles if the site selected for an airport should be located on the highway between here and Atascadero city. He further stated that Atascadero had no natural landing field nearby.

The two aviation experts were brought to Paso Robles largely through the efforts of Postmaster Hal Merrill who is deeply interested in the project.

Paso Robles airport history

Click here to read the full front page.

Hoppin named the four essential qualifications of an airport as being sufficient area, good location, drainage and good surface condition.

It was brought out that there is no [airport between San] Francisco and Los Angeles, and as it is between Salinas on the north and Santa Maria on the south, an unprotected distance of 160 miles. A landing field is needed about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and it is not feasible to have a field too near the Santa Lucia Mountains on account of the air drainage, this immediate district was chosen as the likely site.

In order to have a No. 1 rating, a field must have a 2500-foot runway running that distance in several directions of the prevailing winds. For a No. T (Transport) rating, a runway 3500 feet long is required.

Fresno conference

Hal Merrill, Jim Pierce and C.J. Trussler attended the Aeronautical Congress in the Fresno Hotel at Fresno Saturday. A report was made on every angle of the subject by a specialist.

The real need for a coast air route was discussed, and it was agreed that had there been an alternate route that the pilot of the ill-fated plane wrecked near Lebec could have taken to escape the heavy fog which enveloped the pass for 17 consecutive days, the lives lost could have been saved.

W.H. Adams director of the Aeronautical department of the State Chamber of Commerce stated that while his department could be called upon for advice and personal help, the state could not provide funds for land appropriations.

What Roblans watched at the movies in 1932

Check out page 2 of the March 2 issue of the Paso Robles Advertiser to find out what movies people were watching at the Paso Robles Theatre.

  • The Champ, 1931, starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper, directed by King Vidor, is the story of an alcoholic boxer attempting to get his life together for the sake of his son. Beery won the Oscar for best actor at the 1932 Academy Awards. Vidor was a Paso Robles resident at the time of his death in 1982. There is also a 1979 remake of the original 1931 film. The remake stars Jon Voight and was directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
  • Good Sport is a 1931 American comedy starring Linda Watkins, John Boles, Greta Nissen, Minna Gombell, Hedda Hopper and Alan Dinehart. When Marilyn Parker’s (Watkins) husband (Dinehart) sails for three months in Europe, Marilyn sublets an apartment in Manhattan so she can focus on enjoying the social scene. Upon discovering that the apartment had been paid for by her husband for his mistress (Nissen), Marilyn’s adventures to find true love begin.

Join the ‘watch the movie’ challenge!

Just for fun, find and watch any or all of these old movies! Watching the remakes is okay, too. But, let’s face it. The oldies are special.

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.

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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.