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Looking Back to 1937: Community celebrates Pioneer Day 


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.

Excerpts from Thursday, October 7, 1937, Paso Robles Advertiser:

Hail to the pioneer

– For the seventh consecutive year Paso Robles will hold open house for its friends in the rural districts, in neighborhood communities, and for those former residents who return each year on October 12 for a real homecoming.

It is our pleasure to remind these visitors that Pioneer Day is their day. A day to renew old friendships, to enjoy the events of the celebration, and to become acquainted with the Paso Robles of 1937.

Pioneer Day has meaning as a gesture to show this city’s very real appreciation of its friendly contacts with the surrounding country throughout the year.

Pioneer Day is our party. Put on to express our gratitude to the thousands we cannot thank individually.

We invite you wholeheartedly to make this a day be happily remembered.

Paso Robles history

Old times in Paso Robles recalled by old timer, Charles S. Smith

Charles S. Smith, the oldest active businessman in Paso Robles arrived from San Jose on a bicycle shortly after the town’s formation. Not long afterward he became the proprietor of the C.S. Smith bicycle shop and gun store.

“When I first came to Paso Robles, there was no bridge across the Salinas River. The ranchers living east of here had to ford the stream in order to get into town. During the rainy season, those who came at all, if they had wagons, usually tied up along the east bank, unhitched, and rode one of the animals into town,” reported Smith.

“During the summer, a layer of straw was spread across the sand and this formed a roadbed for wagon wheels that was equally as solid and often a whole lot smoother than our dirt roads.”

Mrs. Julia Brainard chosen queen of Pioneer Day

Mrs. Brainard, is 74 years of age. She came to this community with her parents when a small child and spent most of her early life on a ranch near Estrella. She has seen this county grow from a wild and wooly section of the old west to its present status as one of the most prosperous of the central coast counties.

Beverly Duncan chosen Belle of Pioneer Day

Beverly Duncan, Shandon High School sophomore, was elected Belle of Pioneer Day for 1937. Miss Duncan was selected from a list of five candidates to represent the community in its seventh annual Pioneer Day celebration.

Miss Duncan is 15 years of age, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Duncan, Shandon. She was born in San Francisco, and came to Shandon nearly eight years ago with her parents.

Her father, a native Californian, was principal of the Shandon branch of the Paso Robles Union High School until this year when he was elected school superintendent.

Big day of the year brings thousands to scores of events

The die is cast and everything is in readiness for Paso Robles’ greatest Pioneer Day celebration next Tuesday, October 12.

At the final meeting of the central committee on Monday it was reported that prizes have been collected, detailed plans made to care for  hoses and other stock that will remain in town overnight; parade plans were made definite, and enough beef stew, coffee, milk and crackers to feed the largest crowd of guests ever in Paso Robles at one time will be ready.

Hundreds in parade

At least 300 children will take part in the Kiddie parade, the committee was informed; the soap box derby will be taken care of by the 20-30 club. All arrangements have been made for the gala street dance and the old-time dance to be held at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall. All automobile traffic will be prohibited in the downtown section Tuesday morning. Through traffic will be detoured.

Plans for the largest rodeo ever held here have been completed and advance entries indicate a show packed with thrills. The stock show will be held near the rodeo grounds.

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.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

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