Looking Back to 1937: Believe it or not, Ripley visits Paso Robles, town has first driverless car
Excerpts from the Thursday, February 4, 1937, Paso Robles Advertiser
Believe it or not
Believe it or not, Bob Ripley was a Paso Robles visitor last week. But, believe it or not, he didn’t come to the Almond City in search of scientific data, or any of that huge miscellany or curious facts which with appropriate drawings are syndicated over the entire world for the amusement of daily newspaper readers.
Perhaps we have no newsworthy freaks in Paso Robles. Then again perhaps—.
Anyhow, Mr. Ripley was delayed in the city while repairs were being made to his automobile—and he was non too pleased at the postponement of his planned schedule.
Driverless car negotiates city street unharmed
Perhaps there’s nothing new under the sun. Perhaps careless motorists in other parts of the world have parked their cars with the engine running, the gears in reverse, and left them to transact brief business in stores.
Perhaps those other cars have backed slowly across main thoroughfares of other towns without hitting, or being hit by something. Perhaps — but it hardly seems likely.
This identical performance took place in Paso Robles on Tuesday afternoon. A motorist whose name was not learned, parked his car along the curb, south of 13th Street, left the motor running, and in some manner, the transmission in reverse gear.
As the vehicle crawled slowly backward, and diagonally across Spring Street, the attention of Ray Dauth of the B.H. Tire Co. was called to it, and he played the good Samaritan, bringing the machine to a halt, although on the opposite side of the street.
Perhaps this could have happened here before—but it hasn’t.
Family escape as car wrecked near Creston
–By Rose Smith
Thrown violently against the sides, roof and floor of their car Friday, when that vehicle shot from the road and overturned twice as they were passing the Malmberg home near Creston, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Spencer and daughter escaped with only minor injuries.
The broken steering mechanism on the car was blamed for the accident. The car pitched forward, and down an embankment, coming to rest on its side, badly smashed.
As the occupants crawled from the wreckage, Ed Malmberg, who witnessed the accident, went for help, bringing Wm. Erickson to the scene. Mr. Spencer and the child were brought to Paso Robles by a passing motorist, where they secured medical aid for cuts and bruises to her arm.
News from local communities
Find out what your relatives were up to in February 1937 on page 2. Check out the daily comings, goings and tidbits of family news from Atascadero, Creston and Willow Creek. Here are a few samples:
Mr. and Mrs. T.F. Weaver entertained at dinner Saturday evening at their home on Santa Ysabel Avenue. Among the guests were Senator and Mrs. Chris Jespersen.
L. Crook and daughter, Elsa, left Monday morning for Chicago, accompanying the remains of Mrs. Crook, who passed away Saturday evening at their home on Monterey Road.
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Gleason and Mrs. William Smith and children visited with Mrs. M.H. Ryan Tuesday evening.
Mrs. Blossom Emerick of San Jose was the guest of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hagerman this week.
Read previous Looking Back articles
- Looking Back to 1950: Chamber favors air academy, danger on Spring St. interests police
- Looking Back to January 1943: Council averts water famine, bull kills rancher
- Looking Back to January 1956: Police work overtime on prowler scare, teens jailed for vandalism
- Looking Back to January 1940: City offers a site for hospital
- Looking Back to December 1955: Heavy rainfall aids ranchers
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, 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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