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Looking Back to 1940: Paso Robles joins statewide ban on fireworks 

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 Wednesday, June 26, 1940, Paso Robles Journal

Ban use, sale of fireworks throughout state

– Paso Robles will enjoy a safe and sane Fourth of July, according to statements made this week by Fire Chief Maynard French and Chief of Police Claude Azbell.

An addition to the state health and safety code which went into effect last September 19 prohibits practically all fire works of any description except cap pistols which use paper caps containing not more than twenty-five hundredths grain of explosive compound to each paper cap.

The following excerpt from the code will demonstrate the strictness of the state law, which designates as prohibited all “dangerous fireworks.”

Paso Robles history 1940

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“Pyrotechnics or fireworks containing phosphorous, sulphocyanide, mercury, chlorate of potash and sulphur or chlorate of potash and sugar;

“Firecrackers or salutes exceeding two inches in length and three eights of an inch in diameter and containing more than 12 grains of explosive compound and having an exterior casing harder than an ordinary paper tube;

“Blank cartridges, sky rockets, roman candles, chasers, snakes, boa constrictors and snake nests, containing bichloride of mercury, all articles for pyrotechnic display which contain gunpowder, son-of-aguns, devil-on-the-rocks, crackit sticks, and automatic torpedoes which contain arsenic, devil-on-the-walks or any similar article which explodes by friction and toy torpedoes.”

Violations of the code are a misdemeanor for which the maximum fine is $8000.

Permits for public display or sale or use of any fireworks must be made in written form to the fire chief 10 days before date of filing. Fire Chief French stated that no permits were being issued in Paso Robles.

Both fire chief French and police chief Azbell stated that the state code will be enforced in Paso Robles. Local retailers were informed approximately two months ago of the new state law and the cooperation of the public is requested.

Committee asks for ideas to improve Pioneer Day

If journal readers have any pet ideas they would like to see incorporated into Paso Robles’ annual Pioneer Day celebration now is the time to put them into concrete form and win a worthwhile reward for their efforts.

For the Pioneer committee is sponsoring a contest on the subject, “How I would improve Pioneer Day.” A silver horse will be awarded to the winner of the contest and second place will receive a plaque.

The articles should be confined to 200 words and mailed to Mrs. Robert Olden, Pioneer committee secretary, Paso Robles. The contest opens July 1 and will close August 1.

Chairman Jared Brush stated that the committee is anxious for practical new suggestions to improve the tenth annual Pioneer Day celebration.

In addition to the contest, the Pioneer committee at its meeting at the Guild hall Monday night, also improved a plan to send the covered wagon and riders to Santa Barbara county fair at Santa Maria in July. Similar action in regard to the Santa Barbara Fiesta on August 17 was approved on the condition that some means be found to defray the expenses of the trip.

After considerable discussion on the value of the horse pulling contest, it was decided to defer a definite decision until the next meeting when it is hoped more of the contest enthusiasts will be present.

Several ideas for new sections in the parade were received and considered. Chairman Brush stated that the next committee meeting would be on Monday, August 12, at the Guild hall.

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.