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Looking Back to 1956: Adolescent riots feared in Atascadero, veterans honored 

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, November 15, 1956, Paso Robles Journal:

Possible riots of adolescents at Atascadero, Napa feared

A legislative committee warned that aggressive actions of some emotionally bothered teenage delinquents may touch off a riot at Atascadero State Hospital or runaways from the adolescent wards at Napa State Hospital.

The Assembly Social Welfare Committee, led by Bruce F. Allen (R-San Jose), also forecast Tuesday that “acting out” behavior on the part of such youths could halt progress in the treatment of mentally ill children at Camarillo State Hospital.

The committee, reporting upon the care and treatment of emotionally disturbed youngsters after a June hearing in Atascadero, asked the Youth Authority to request funds in the 1957-58 budget for special staff members needed in developing wards at several state hospitals now treating delinquents.

Allen’s group recommended in the preliminary report that the state welfare and institution’s code be changed to make the Youth Authority responsible for all cases that cannot be sent to other facilities or cared for locally. It came out for Superior Court control of some youths after their discharge from state hospitals.

The committee recommended that older delinquents, especially Superior Court cases who require special care for their disorders, should be handled by the Department of Corrections. It said formal trials for older and more serious lawbreakers should be discussed so court control could extend past the age limit placed upon youth authority jurisdiction.

The lower house group said care for troubled young persons must be enacted on local levels, including preventative measures, and supportive therapy if needed once a patient has been released from the hospital. Local efforts should insure a youngster’s being sent to the correct agency, it said.

Allen’s committee concluded that most difficult teenagers were not mentally ill enough to be sent to a mental hospital. But it said the “acting out” portion could wreck treatment programs helping more normal youths.

Veterans Day observance in Paso Robles

Veterans Day was observed quietly in Paso Robles with a short ceremony in the city park and a moment of silent tribute by members of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars to their departed comrades.

The Rev. William P. Sutton conducted the service, with a history of Veterans Day and its meaning.

Veterans Day Paso Robles

Click here to read the full front page.

Following is the text of Rev. Suttons speech:

“The noise of battle ceased on November 11, 1918 and an uneasy silence lay over the land. It lasted for just a short time. At 11 o’clock on the morning of November 11, the silence was again shattered, but not with moans and cries. It was a joyful sound for that war was over.

In many places around the world the news of the Armistice was joyously received, and in our country, it climaxed all Fourth of July celebrations of all time, for all at once millions of American people felt the joy of peace.

But soon we missed our comrades and the sacred moment of Silence became a time of honoring our departed comrades. Our friends, the Spanish American veterans, and a few Civil War veterans carried on with Memorial Day programs, and we of the World War, later known as the first World War, almost duplicated their services, on Armistice Day.

But now, the Civil War veterans are gone and the Spanish American Veterans are not numerous anymore. So we of recent years are taking over the Memorial or Decoration Day services.

There was a time when Armistice Day was in danger of passing out. But now that there have been other armistices, we rejoice that we can follow in the footsteps of the Grand Army of the Republic and conduct Memorial Day services on May 30, honoring our hero dead, and also continue our celebration of the armistices of our wars, and in so doing, honor the living veterans of all wars.

We shall emphasize rehabilitation, care of orphans, widows and all needy, and help to advertise Hire the Disabled Veteran. For we today celebrate the end of wars, and hope for continued peace, and we rejoice with the living. This day belongs to us and we should use it to know each other better and to share in the ideals for which we fought.

We will not forget our hero dead and whenever possible we will inject the Moment of Sacred Silence into our celebrations and our meetings, for this is our day and must use it.”

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.