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Looking Back to 1932: Mercantile looted, Atascadero founder E.G. Lewis arrested 

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 the Thursday, March 31, 1932, Paso Robles Advertiser

Mercantile entered and stock looted

The lady’s ready-to-wear department of the Paso Robles Mercantile Company was robbed Friday night of over $500 worth of dresses and hosiery by three itinerants, two of whom were picked up with the stolen goods in their possession in San Miguel Saturday noon. The third was not apprehended.

Entry was gained by wedging open the transom over the street door sometime close to midnight. Hosiery was dumped from boxes and carried away. This stock was valued at $250. Two dozen dresses from the higher-priced racks, all of which were marked down to $12 for the Mercantile’s recent big sale were taken.

The two thieves apprehended in San Miguel the following day where they walked with loot, gave their names as Frank Bila and Frank Larkin. After caching their plunder in a flat car, they approached a woman and sold her one of the dresses for $1. They sold a dress and a pair of hose to another party for $3. Deputy Constable Irvin Davis was called with the men attempted a third sale by Mr. Bajer, a blacksmith. He held the two men until Constable Anderson arrived to take them into custody with a representative of the sheriff’s office. Most of the stolen goods were recovered and are being held as evidence, and the men were placed in the county jail until they can be tried.

Paso Robles History 1932

E.G. Lewis arrested by U.S. officer

E.G. Lewis, Atascadero founder and real estate promoter, who was recently released after three years from McNeil prison, where he was serving a six-year term on conviction of using the mail to defraud, was arrested late Tuesday night at his home in Atascadero by Federal Marshal, Martin Finn, on a federal warrant charging violation of parole.

Paso track team to compete with 19 other schools

With the shot put and discus records established by Smith of Paso Robles High at King City last year threatened, Coach Tiny Hartranft is again entering the annual King City Invitational Track and Field meet with a powerful track squad to compete with 19 other schools from South San Francisco to Arroyo Grande, it was announced this week by Coach Farnum Howard, general manager of the high school classic scheduled for April 9.

Northern San Luis Obispo County will be represented in the meet this year by Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Templeton high schools and many a gold medal is expected to come south from the big meet. San Luis, winner of the event last year, is entering the same squad with practically no change and should give athletes from the northern schools plenty of competition.

Smith’s records of 50 feet, 8 inches in the shot and 135 feet, 8 inches in the discus may need Southern support this year, but track records are more seriously threatened because of the new cinder track which has recently been completed at King City for the meet. The new cinder path is one of the few to be found at Western high schools.

Increased interest in the meet is indicated by the entries which are already in from Arroyo Grande, Hanford, Coalinga, Taft, Hollister, Gonzales, Salinas, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Pacific Grove, Mountain View and King City. The event is sponsored by the King City Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the high school.

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.