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Looking Back to 1950: Chamber favors air academy, danger on Spring St. interests police 

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 the Thursday, January 19, 1950, Paso Robles Journal:

New hope for air academy

Chamber backs location in Paso Robles

– Paso Robles is one of 195 communities in 34 states bidding to be the site of a proposed $150 million Air Force school.

Support of the State Chamber of Commerce in urging federal authorities to locate a United States Air Force Academy in California brought new home last week that Paso Robles might be chosen as the site for the permanent military establishment.

“The state chamber’s directors are urging Congress, the President, the secretaries of defense and the Air Force, and the Air Force’s Academy Site Selection board to take into account the many national benefits and advantages to be derived by locating the proposed Air Force Academy in California,” James E. Shelton, president of the state chamber of commerce, said. “The state chamber also has offered the services of its organization and staff in connection with any studies, economic data, or other pertinent information required for full appraisal of the advantages of a California location.”

The proposed academy would be similar to the Army’s West Point and the Navy’s Annapolis academies. The site would cover a 9000-acre area, with an outlay of approximately $150 million for structures, establishing a permanent, fully integrated community of about 5000 persons.

Paso Robles history

Click here to read the full front page.

Paso Robles’ bid for the academy was made in March 1949, when it was first learned that plans were being made to locate the air school in Southern California.

At that time letters were forwarded by George Stephan, then president of the local chamber of commerce, to President Truman, Congressman Ernest Bramblett, to members of the Armed Services Committee, and to the Air Force Secretary Stewart Symington, calling attention to the favorable flying conditions of the Paso Robles area.

However, Paso Robles is one of 195 communities in 34 states that have submitted bids for the site of the proposed Air Force academy.

Following preliminary surveys by teams headed by an army engineer or an Air Force installations officer, a civilian architecture engineer will recommend ten sites. A special Air Force academy selection board will then recommend one of these ten.

Construction of the academy must be approved by Congress which also may select a site other than the recommended one. Bids from other California cities include Borrego Springs, Brawley, Cal Aero, Corona, El Centro, Escondido, Lancaster, Los Angeles, March Field, Marysville, Merced, Napa, Livermore, Oxnard, Palmdale, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Ana, Santa Maria, and Santa Rosa.

Sites in Texas, Utah and Arizona are also reported under study as preferred locations, according to Shelton. However, California’s adequate facilities, diverse terrain, two large cosmopolitan areas and generally desirable living conditions offer many advantages. Further, the state chamber president said, California’s world-renowned universities and research laboratories would serve as a valuable adjunct to the proposed academy’s program.

Crossing danger interests police on North Spring St.

Several near accidents on North Spring Street this week brought a request that parents educate their children to the use of the school crossing at 32nd and Spring streets.

The request was made by Jardine Millard, chief of police, in a letter to George Flamson, superintendent of city schools with a copy of the message forwarded to Mrs. Paul McKusick, president of the Parent-Teachers Association.

Test of Chief Millard’s letter follows:

“This department has placed an officer to take care of the school crossing at 32nd and Spring streets to assist the children crossing Spring Street.

“From Officer Webber’s and my personal observation, we have noticed the children crossing at 34th and Spring and 30th and Spring streets.

“At the meeting of the council, when you and the members of the PTA were present, it was stated that this department would take care of 32nd and Spring streets if the children would use this crossing. If the children do not use the 32nd Street crossing and cross at other intersections and should they get injured, we will not be held responsible.

Please inform the students that they should cross at 32nd Street.”

Latest near accident occurred at 8:25 o’clock this morning when a car skidded across Spring Street (continued on page 2) Click here to read page 2.


Read previous Looking Back articles


Thank you to the 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, www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org (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, ewarbirds.org, (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.