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Looking Back to 1940: City purchases land for airport, county considers funding for improvements 

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 Wednesday, June 19, 1940, Paso Robles Journal:

City purchases 161-acre tract for local airport

Paso Robles now possesses a municipal airport. City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to purchase the 161-Osborne tract, located east of Paso Robles, on the Creston road, for approximately $9000.

Wide approval of the purchase was indicated in an opinion ballot taken at the time of the regular city election in April. Final action by the council was delayed until approval of the field was received from the Civil Aeronautics Authority.

Improvements by the CAA are expected to be made in the near future. Funds are being solicited by local organizations from the board of supervisors, and possibly other sources, for the construction of a hangar and other improvements.

Paso Robles History

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Representatives of the Pacific Gas and Electric company appeared before the council to explain the request for a franchise which has been filed with city. Revenue from the franchise under the present State act would be one-half percent of gross receipts in the city. This would amount to approximately $440 at this time.

J.F. Faulstich, of Faulstich Brothers Brick Works, San Luis Obispo, which was awarded the contract to provide tile walls for new restrooms at the public library, presented different color combinations for approval of the council. An attractive cream and green combination was chosen.

Paul Turner, chamber of commerce president, reported on request of county chamber for funds to improve the Paso Robles airport.

Due to illness of City Clerk S.S. Tucker, Councilman T. Brooks Jr., acted as temporary clerk.

County defers local request for airport funds

Efforts of Paso Robles chamber of commerce, supported by the county chamber and air-minded citizens, to secure $7600 from the county board of supervisors for improving the newly-purchased municipal airport, brought no immediate acquiescence from the supervisors Tuesday afternoon.

William Santelman, representing the county chamber, presented the request and was followed by Paul Turner, president of the Paso Robles chamber, and R.C. Heaton, who spoke in favor of the plan.

The funds are to be spent for grading and draining the field, surfacing the runways, and constructing a hangar. The local men pointed out that the fact that the field is on the commercial airline routes, is widely approved by pilots, and has the best percentage of flying days of any coast airport.

The supervisors stated that there would be no money available until November, and there might be legal difficulties in spending county money for permanent improvements on city property Supervisor Alfred Ferrini definitely opposed the project, stating that he believed that county money should be centered on the San Luis Obispo field. He added, that if Paso Robles was granted funds Cambria and other county towns were entitled to the same consideration.

The board promised to study the plan and a committee consisting of Supervisor Henry Twisselman, William Santelman and W.V. Ganan, president of the local Exchange club was appointed to confer with District Attorney A.H. Brazil on the legality of such action by the county board. This committee is to report at the July meeting.

Although the CAA will install lights, these further improvements are needed at the field, local air enthusiasts state. It is thought that such improvements would encourage the establishment of a pilot training school at the local field.

Steps to promote a government school at the Paso Robles airport were taken last week, when the city council and chamber of commerce and service clubs sent telegrams to President Roosevelt and national and western CAA chiefs urging such action.

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.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

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