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Looking back to 1950: $319,000 phone project for Paso as long-distance calls rise 

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, December 7, 1950, Paso Robles Journal:

Major expansion program revealed by J. E. Gooding

A large increase in the number of long-distance calls from Paso Robles is being paced by major construction projects costing $319,000 to augment telephone facilities here. J. E. Gooding, Pacific Telephone manager, announced today. He said that local service of good quality is now being rendered, and work underway will provide additional facilities for handling the increase in calls to out-of-town points.

According to Gooding, the daily volume of long-distance calls originating in the Paso Robles area has risen 48 percent during the past six months and is now averaging more than 1260 a day. Local calls have also climbed 17 percent in the same period to a total of nearly 11,000 calls daily. To handle this sudden upturn in calls, the number of operators at the local telephone office has been increased from 28 to 47 since the end of June.

Paso Robles history

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Steps already taken to expand telephone facilities here include the provision of four new positions of long-distance switchboard which were placed in service last week. Circuits to out-of-town points from Paso Robles have already been augmented and will be further reinforced as rapidly as possible, he added.

A major expansion project, including an addition to the company’s building at 717 14th Street to house eight new positions of switchboard, will get underway soon. This construction will be rushed so that the new facilities will be available this coming spring. Gooding said that the building addition will be a one-story concrete block structure, and will house equipment to serve Camp Roberts, freeing the present Paso Robles switchboard to handle calls from other subscribers.

Meanwhile, work has begun on more cable facilities to serve Camp Roberts, as well as a new telephone center which will soon be placed in operation there. These projects will also help speed service through the Paso Robles exchange.

Utilization of the new switchboard positions and wire facilities here will also require work necessitating an additional expenditure of approximately $147,000 in exchanges as far away as Watsonville, King City and San Luis Obispo.

Outsiders to receive city water

Furnishing of city water to outside users became a possibility once again Monday night when the city council directed James Madden, city attorney, to draw up a resolution rescinding the city’s former policy.

Roy Ottoson, water commissioner, recommended a more liberal policy to the council several weeks ago, stating that building which could alleviate the housing shortage was being stopped due to the water ban.

The council asked Madden to include in the resolution the following conditions: outside users will pay double city rates, they will be required to install all their own pipes and pressure pumps where needed, they must promise to vote for annexation when the opportunity to come into the city is presented, and they must understand that in the event of a water shortage, city uses will have first call on supplies.

Applications were filed for water outside the city by Muriel Hyde, William Pokorney, and Rose Molln, all on the Sherwood Field road, and by D. W. Frost for property south of the city on Kiler Canyon Road.

Several other applications for the Sherwood road area have been pending since shortly after the city’s resolution cutting off fringe areas from city water was passed.

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.