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Looking Back to 1944: Pioneer baby contest is announced 

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 the Wednesday, September 6, 1944, The Paso Robles Journal:

Feature of city celebration will bring out history of families

–Pioneer family parents of babies less than one year old are urged to get busy at once digging up data of family history so that their child can be entered in the second annual Pioneer Day Baby Contest.

This contest, sponsored by the Paso Robles Business and Professional Women’s club, was one of the biggest features of last year’s celebration and plans are already under way to continue it as an special feature of the Pioneer Day observance.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page of the September 6, 1944 issue of The Paso Robles Journal.

The B.P.W. named a committee composed of Mrs. Nancy Stinefield, Mrs. Ruth Kleck and Mrs. Irene Colt to direct the contest and they have announced the following rules:

  1. Baby must not be over one year of age.
  2. Ancestors must have lived in the Paso Robles trading area for at least 50 years.
  3. Entries must be accompanied by an essay on family history not to exceed 1500 words or be less than 500 words.
  4. Judging will be on length of lineage in the territory. In the case of a tie, composition of essay will be the deciding factor.
  5. The decision of the judges will be final.
  6. Entries must be in by Friday, October 6, 1944.

All entries must be mailed or delivered to Mrs. Irene Colt at The Vogue, 1233 Park Street, and the judges are Rev. Milo Atkinson, Rev. Lloyd Thomas and Rev. E.C. Erny.

Seven prizes will be awarded: a $25 war bond for first, $10 in War stamps to the sedond, and five prizes of $5 in war stamps to the next five. These prizes have been donated by the merchants of Paso Robles.

Local flier proves hero over Belgium

Darrell McMahon, former grid star at high school wins high praise.

Lieutenant Darrell McMahan, 20, former Paso Robles high school football star, was lauded as an outstanding hero of the war when he saved the life of his flight leader by deliberately drawing the fire of four German antiaircraft batteries while over Belgium, according to a press dispatch from Great Britain.

McMahan’s action was described by his commander as “the most heroic performance I have ever witnessed”

During a low-level attack on German vehicles the flight commander’s Thunderbolt was damaged when it hit a tree. Over Nieuport, Belgium, four German guns opened up on him and he was unable to take evasive action. They seemed certain to get him.

McMahan then dived on the guns one after another.

“The first time I just sprayed the area, and it didn’t slow them u one bit,” he said. “The second time I got my sights on one position and knocked it out, but three more were still firing. The third time they cut down their fire quite a lot.”

McMahan’s plane also was hit during the action, but both got home safely.

Mrs. Mabel McMahan, mother of Darrell, recently moved to Pittsburg from Paso Robles.

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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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.