Jul 26

Photos From the Vault is moving

March 13, 1952 advertisement for Early Times whiskeywhiskey.

March 13, 1952 advertisement for Early Times whiskey.


When we launched blogs, like Photos From the Vault at sanluisobispo.com our old web publishing system was not nimble, easy to use or customize.
In fact it was easy to mess a lot of important things up so the blogs were launched on an outside platform. Over the years we have shifted blogging platforms three times, and changed the main website platform at least once.
Now it makes sense to bring the blogs under the parent umbrella of sanluisobispo.com.
This site will remain as a static archive but there is no easy way to import a half-decade of material into the new system.
Since 2007 there have been 985 posts and your over 2,000 comments have been a great addition to understanding the history of our community.
I won’t be moderating comments at the new location but hope you will continue to share your insights.
I hope you will follow us to the new address and as before we will post to facebook and twitter feeds if you prefer to check in that way.
The story will continue in a new location, just look a little different.




Jul 21

Patton takes Sicily, World War II week by week

Quoting from the Thursday July 22, 1943 Telegram-Tribune:

“Lieut. Gen. George S. Patton’s Seventh Army raced virtually at will through the collapsed Axis defenses of central and western Sicily today, carrying the invasion campaign through what British military quarters called the mop-up stage in those regions.”

George S. Patton dominated headlines as well as Axis troops on Sicily in this edition from July 22, 1943.

George S. Patton dominated headlines as well as Axis troops on Sicily in this edition from July 22, 1943.

Jul 19

Pismo Pier plans from the past

Pismo Beach is currently setting goals for the future of downtown. At one time there was talk of putting commercial space on the diamonds of the pier, newly rebuilt from storm damage. The artist can’t seem to decide if it is summer (left side of pier) or winter. The prevailing wind appears to be opposite the usual flow.
On Sept. 15, 1988 Telegram-Tribune reporter Danna Dykstra wrote this story.

Artists rendering of what the Pismo Beach pier could become from 1988.

Artists rendering of what the Pismo Beach pier could become from 1988.

Pismo urged to quit stalling on pier

Proposals for building a restaurant and shops on the Pismo Beach pier were nearly blown out of the water this week.
However, the City Council decided 3-2 to allow two developers to discuss the proposals with a consultant. Their findings will then be brought back to the council for further review.
Councilmen Hardy Hearn and Dick Morrow dissented on the Monday night vote, claiming the city should give other developers another chance to put in their proposals.
The city sought proposals — and not a public bid — on the development more than two years ago and again last year. The city found no proposals to be satisfactory, said City Attorney Art Shaw.
He said while the courts “insist upon strict compliance with public bidding laws,” when a project is built on public property, there is a legal loophole that allows the city to contract with developers on a negotiated basis — rather than hold a formal bid.
Shaw said public bidding is not required for the design or management portions of the project.
RKO partner John King and Trader Nick’s restaurant owner John Nichols have, since the city’s request for proposals, shown great interest in forming a partnership to build a restaurant and small shops on the pier.
The development would be a great source of money for the city, Nichols told the council.
The city is currently paying an annual $140,000 bond to repay the state $1.5 million for the pier improvement project.
“And,” Nichols told the council, “you’re not getting back one nickel.
“Here you have some people who want to help (generate revenues) — and we don’t want to waste anymore time,” said Nichols.
“I wish somebody would get off their dead center and make some moves, instead of sitting around because it’s an election year.”
King told the council that, “In reality, you got two bites on the apple. I’d like to see this project proceed.”
Nichols said the restaurant he is proposing would be comparable to those at Pier 39 in San Francisco.
King said the project would bring pride to the community and is a “good, quality” project.
Issues to be ironed out in negotiations are lack of parking and leasehold rates, Shaw said.
King and Nichols will meet with a consultant to analyze the business elements of their proposals.
The council will consider negotiations once those findings are brought back for review.

Jul 15

The Elg runs aground off Oceano

Vivian Krug from the South County Historical Society shares this item about a story outlined previously here in Photos from the Vault.
September 1938 — A lumber freighter runs aground and the captain decides to lighten the ship by tossing cargo overboard. Free lumber was a big deal during the Depression and there were fights on the beach and at least one death.
That story can be found here.

Vivian Krug writes:

South County Historical Society ends its Third Season of Historic Readers Theatre productions with Goldrush in Oceano? The Story of the Elg opening July 20 and running every Saturday thru August 24th at the IOOF Hall 128 Bridge Street in Arroyo Grande at 2PM. Doors open at 1:15. Free.

In 1938 with the country still struggling through the Depression, a Norwegian freighter, the Elg, ran aground off Oceano. Her captain made a decision to pitch prime lumber overboard to try to free her. Days of scavenging chaos on the beach followed, filled with good deeds and greed. Gold Rush in Oceano is a story of people at their best and worst.

Freighter Elg aground in Oceano, 1938. Photo courtesy Karen White via Vivian Krug.

Freighter Elg aground in Oceano, 1938. Photo courtesy Karen White via Vivian Krug.

For more information on the Historical Society visit www.SouthCountyHistory.org

Jul 14

Sicily invaded, World War II week by week

July 1, 1943 Telegram-Tribune headlines include invasion of Sicily.

July 1, 1943 Telegram-Tribune headlines include invasion of Sicily.

If anyone wondered where the Western Allies were moving next early July would provide answers.
The Japanese forces were under attack at the Aleutian island of Kiska and the Southwest Pacific base of Munda,
In Europe Sicily was under bombardment from sea and air as British and American forces prepared to invade.
President Franklin Roosevelt sent an assurance to Pope Pius that Vatican City would not be targeted in the offensive.
Hitler’s offensive in Russia had been blunted by ferocious defense by the Red Army which had now assumed the counter-attack. Each side had forces of a half-million or more men involved.
To give a sense of scale the Sicily invasion force numbered about 150,000 but those troops had to invade across the ocean from North Africa.
In San Luis Obispo the County Housing Authority was considering building housing for Southern Pacific employees who were being priced out of housing by the influx of military.
The company had 439 employees with a monthly payroll of $94,223. Approximately 60 of the employees were women.
The current scandal in Los Angeles involved band leader and jazz drummer Gene Krupa charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His valet testified that he had “bought marihuana cigarets for the jitterbug dance band drummer.”
In one interview Krupa said he had sent a 17-year old to his motel to send out his laundry and flush cigarettes in the pocket down the drain.
The police were searching the theater where he was performing at the time.
Federal Agents accused the drummer of using the minor to transport drugs.
The conviction would be overturned on appeal in May of 1944.

Jul 12

Cannon returned to Mission San Miguel

Historic Spanish cannon stolen from Old Mission San Miguel a year ago is welcomed home by Brother Paul (left), Brother Martin (center with glasses) and Father Manuel, standing next to Sheriff Larry Mansfield, in white shirt. ©The Tribune

Historic Spanish cannon stolen from Old Mission San Miguel a year ago is welcomed home by Brother Paul (left), Brother Martin (center with glasses) and Father Manuel, standing next to Sheriff Larry Mansfield, in white shirt. ©The Tribune

The negative files from the 1960s are a bit of a mess but sometimes something turns up several months or years after it is written about. To read the previously published story click here.
Apparently this isn’t the only cannon that has been misplaced. The one in front of the Veteran’s Hall in San Luis Obispo has done some wandering as well.

Jul 11

Ah Louis, pioneer builder of San Luis Obispo

Ah Louis has to be on any top ten list of early persons of influence in San Luis Obispo. This article comes from the May 10, 1956 Centurama edition of the then Telegram-Tribune but the column was republished from one written in 1929 so some of the references need to be updated.
Post a comment if you know where the Pickwick Stage or Obispo Cafe were.

Ah Louis was the nickname given to Wong On who arrived in San Luis Obispo about 1870.

Ah Louis was the nickname given to Wong On who arrived in San Luis Obispo about 1870.

He Helped Build the City
Many articles have been written on the career of Ah Louis whose life in San Luis Obispo spanned well over half a century.
The following is taken from the El Camino year book, published by Mission high school in 1929, sketching some of the highlights of his career:
“At the time of this writing, AH Louis was 89 years old. Leaving china at the age of 21, he came to the United States, and spent 59 of these 65 years in San Luis Obispo.
“When he first came to San Luis Obispo, Ah Louis worked as a cook at the French hotel, which was situated on the corner opposite the mission, where the recently torn down Mission Garage stood. Subsequently he was foreman and employment agent of all the Chinese who worked on the P.C. railroad. After that he had charge of the Chinese miners who worked in the quicksilver mines near Cambria.
“Later Ah Louis owned the first brick yard near the Oceanic mines from which came the bricks for the first brick building in Cambria. After that, Ah Louis and an American became partners, and owned the first brick yard in San Luis Obispo. Afterward he built his own brick yard on property he bought from the Johnson estate.
“When Ah Louis first came to San Luis Obispo, there was only one picket fence in the town; it was south of San Luis Creek and was owned by Mr. Steele. There was no water reservoir, and water was bought for the price of fifty cents a gallon.
“The first brick building in San Luis Obispo was where the Obispo cafe stood, the second where the Pickwick stage stood, the third was the Sinsheimer building and the Ah Louis store, the fourth.
At that time, Ah Louis owned half a block of Chinatown, and in years past all of the Chinese living there were under him, as he was Mayor of Chinatown.”

There are different versions of how Wong On came to be known as Ah Louis. The most common story is that he was given the name by John Harford who hired him as labor contractor for construction of the Pacific Coast Railway. Another interview (from the History in San Luis Obispo website) quotes Louis in 1934. He said his name was pronounced Ah Loo-ee. The nick name came to him from a store owner in Oregon where he worked before coming to San Luis Obispo.

Jul 10

Honoring Dr. Louis Tedone

Dr. Louis Tedone will be honored this evening, July 9, 2013 at Mission San Luis Obispo Parish Hall.
Tribune reporter Sarah Arnquist wrote this story published Sept. 10, 2006:

Dr. Louis Tedone, 83, will recieve the first Louis Tedone Humanitarian award next week from French Hospital for his 45 years of serving the community as a pediatrician and volunteer.  ©The Tribune/ Aaron Lambert

Dr. Louis Tedone, 83, will receive the first Louis Tedone Humanitarian award next week from French Hospital for his 45 years of serving the community as a pediatrician and volunteer.
©The Tribune/ Aaron Lambert


Few people have touched as many lives in San Luis Obispo as Dr. Louis Tedone, say those who know him.

Tedone was San Luis Obispo’s first pediatrician. In his 45-year career, he cared for more than 30,000 children, and according to his friends, the doctor’s dedication to his patients, family, friends and community define him as a great humanitarian of his time.

On Sept. 16, French Hospital Medical Center will honor Tedone, 83, for his extraordinary contributions to improve the community’s health.

In future years, the hospital’s foundation annually will award a local provider or advocate with the Louis Tedone Humanitarian Award for a lifetime dedication to health care and improving the community’s health.

Bill Thoma, a member of the French Hospital Foundation and San Luis Obispo native, said Tedone cared for Thoma when he was a child — and later his children.

“I can’t think of anyone that had a better bedside manner, ” Thoma said.

After learning of the award, a humbled Tedone said his initial feelings were surprise, then bewilderment and eventually pride. He considers himself lucky to have chosen a career that never bored him, provided job security and allowed him to help people and earn a good living.

“The most important thing that you do (as a doctor) is help a lot of people, ” he said.

The Brooklyn-born son of Italian immigrants graduated from New York Medical College in 1947 and was stationed at Camp Roberts during the Korean War. Tedone stayed in San Luis Obispo after the war and joined Dr. Edison French’s specialty clinic. The team of doctors ushered in the practice of specialty care, a new concept then but the norm today.

Tedone and his wife, Grace, who died from cancer in 1994, raised nine children. In his spare time, Tedone volunteered in the community. He organized the county’s first mental health clinic and served on its advisory board for 10 years. He also taught sex education at Mission Prep High School for 15 years.

Besides great advances in technology and treatments, Tedone said the increased influence of insurance companies and managed care is probably the largest change he witnessed in medicine.

“I’m lucky because I chose pediatrics, ” he said, “and that I did it in a time that we refer to as the ‘golden age of medicine’ when there was less government and insurance interference.”

Bob Wacker, Tedone’s friend and one of the award’s sponsors, called Tedone “one of the finest people I’ve ever known.”

“He often refers to himself as ‘Lucky Louie’ because of all the good things that have happened to him, ” Wacker said. “But he works to earn his luck and deserves all the good things that come his way.”

Tedone said all nine of his children and their spouses plan to watch him receive his award. He has 22 grandchildren, most of whom live in the county, who keep his days full. But he also finds time to make his famous mozzarella cheese and stay involved with the community.

“You can’t hardly walk down the street and find someone who doesn’t know who Doc Tedone is, ” Thoma said.

Jul 09

Kursk Tank Battle, World War II week by week

Telegram-Tribune July 9, 1943.

Telegram-Tribune July 9, 1943.

In local news, Marine pilot Lt. George Langston of Atascadero was credited with downing a Japanese bomber in fighting over Guadalcanal.

Receipts at the San Luis Obispo Post Office broke an all time record since it became a first class post office in 1921. The January-June period exceeded even the busy holiday season with $54,742.55 in receipts. The previous year had seen $35,872.40 in receipts, an indicator of the region’s explosive wartime growth.

Farm Bureau members in San Luis Obispo county voted in a ratio of 24 to one (247-10) for deportation of alien born Japanese from the United States after the war. They voted in a ratio of three to one (187-65) to deport American-born Japanese after the war. The members were willing to rewrite the constitution to deny rights to American-born Japanese though they were willing to make an exception for Japanese holding an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army.

The German Army launched a summer offensive near the town of Kursk, attempting to envelop Soviet forces.
A Yugoslav Army draftee had defected from the German lines, tipping the plan to the Soviets.
The Germans found that this was not the untested and unprepared Soviet army of June 1941. This would become one of the largest battles of the war.
Both sides knew this could be a major turning point in the war.

Jul 04

The Eagle of Freedom or Jim Crow?

Bill Mauldin penned this political cartoon published in the Telegram-Tribune Sept. 12, 1963.

Bill Mauldin penned this political cartoon published in the Telegram-Tribune Sept. 12, 1963.

Artist Bill Mauldin was a master of communicating complicated concepts and emotions with a few sharply drawn visual symbols.
He could draw in a single frame what would take lawyers pages of words.
Mauldin first came to popular attention with his cartoons of the dog-faced GI’s – Willie and Joe – during World War II.
Though some officers took offense to the enlisted man’s trench level view, the work was authentic and was wildly popular with the troops.
The paring of his drawings with columnist Ernie Pyle offered an unvarnished look at what others often glossed over and were collected into best selling books.
Contrast his drawings with these NEA photos and you will see how groundbreaking the images were.
For Mauldin would be the youngest man awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the first of two he would earn.
After the war Mauldin stayed in the freedom-fighting trenches, penning strong political cartoons against racial discrimination and anti-communist hysteria.
“Jim Crow” was a black character in minstrel shows. The term came to be used to identify laws and unwritten practices used to segregate African-Americans from whites and deny constitutionally protected rights.
The progress made during World War II would energize the Civil Rights movement in the 1940s and 50s but discrimination was pernicious. Getting Congress to enact meaningful protections was almost impossible.
The shock of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination paired with President Lyndon Johnson, a southerner twisting arms passed landmark anti-discrimination law. It was finally enough to gain passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Mauldin was ahead of popular opinion with this cartoon, published in the Telegram-Tribune Sept. 12, 1963 drawn before Kennedy’s death.
Two years later the Telegram-Tribune wrote a story in Feb. 1965 about Dora Baines, 54, who registered to vote for the first time in San Luis Obispo. She had been denied her basic constitutional right for over 30 years in Mississippi.
Battles fought almost 50 years ago are in the news again.
On June 25, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated key portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As reported in the New York Times, Chief Justice John G. Roberts said “Our country has changed. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”
Has the tone of a judicial activist.
Congress had reauthorized the law in 2006 by 390 to 33 in the House and a unanimous vote in the Senate.
If only we could see the cartoon the late Bill Mauldin would have penned.
He died January 22, 2003 and is buried with fellow soldiers at Arlington Cemetery.

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