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Looking Back to Christmas 1946: Trade hits new high, chamber of commerce to get new building 

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 Wednesday, December 25, 1946 Paso Robles Journal:

Christmas trade hits new high

Despite loss of camp postal and bank receipts show trend

Paso Robles has had a splendid Christmas season.

The street decorations of lights and trees gave a holiday air and the playing of Christmas carols during business hours added greatly to the pleasure of shopping.

Merchants report that there was a big demand for gift items with shortages in many lines. Late shoppers found little to choose from but for the last three days, the stores stayed open until 9 p.m. for their accommodation.

Despite the fact that Camp Roberts was closed and last Christmas the post office was serving 23,500 civilian workers at camp, the business came within a few dollars of equaling last year’s receipts.

This year the receipts from Dec 17 to 22 were $2720, while last year it was only topped by $2868. The peak cay in revenue last year was Dec 17 with receipts of $796 while Dec 16 was the top day this year and the receipts that day were $579.

Bank receipts this year were slightly higher than last year, the Bank of America reports. Taking the last five years as 100% the bank lists business receipts for the first five weeks of Dec as follows: 1942, 13%; 1943 15%; 1944, 18%; 1945, 27%, and 1946 27%.

This shows that despite the closing of the camp business was slightly better than last year, according to bank deposits.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Plans made for new C.C. office

Board will meet with council to discuss possible site on city lot

Erection of a building to house the Chamber of Commerce, long the dream of Paso Robles businessmen, may become a reality following Monday night’s meeting of the chamber directors.

Various plans were suggested and it was decided that the board meet with the city trustees at their next meeting to discuss a possible site on city property.

E.R. Griswold, secretary, submitted his resignation to take effect Jan 1, but was persuaded to remain on the job until after the election of officers and the appointment of a new secretary by the new board.

The board approved the purchase of additional street lights and appointed Sid Tucker as custodian of the lights with instructions to store them under lock and key. In other years many were lost or stolen, it was reported.

It is expected that a tentative plan and profile drawing of the new office building will be ready for presentation to the council on Jan 6 and it was suggested that the chamber stage a couple of dances similar to the pre-Pioneer Day Ball to finance the materials. Volunteer labor, it was believed, would do much of the erection.

Paso Roblan kills self with rifle

Despondent over ill health, Ray Wallace, 38, son of a pioneer family, took his own life Monday night by shooting himself through the head at his home, 1840 Vine Street.

Wallace went to bed shortly after 9:00 o’clock and at 9:40 the family and neighbors were aroused by the sound of a rifle shot. Investigation proved that Wallace had laid on the bed and fired the rifle with is toes.

Wallace was born in the Adelaide district and attended Lincoln school. He has been an employee of the State Highway Department since 1924 and has been married for 20 years.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Helen Wallace, two children, Beverly and Norma Jean; his mother, Mrs. Mattie Wallace; two brothers, John and Earl; four sisters, Mrs. Gordon Brown, Mrs. Tom Frazier, Mrs. John Jardine, and Mrs. Roy McClure of Coalinga.


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.