Nov 08

Edna Military Camp

With Veteran’s Day setting the theme this week will feature a few posts about military activity in the area. The California militia did not have a home from 1850 to 1928. Training was held in various communities but had no home base.   The area was strategically important with the development of oil facilities but Camp San Luis Obispo (originally Camp Merriam) was not founded until 1928.

This example of early 20th century training was compiled by Wilmar Tognazzini for his 100 Years Ago column that was published in the Tribune.
Re-published: Sunday, February 3, 2002
Excerpts from the San Luis Obispo Tribune for the week of Jan. 27, 1902.

ED. TRIBUNE: Permit me to comment on a few impressions which have been formulated since the site at Edna has been proposed.
1. That it will dispossess a large number of farmers and diminish trade with storekeepers.
2. That it is only an annual gathering of troops, without permanency.
3. That it will be demoralizing so near the city.
All of which are untrue and circulated by someone who is apparently working more in the interests of Paso Robles than this city, and in contradiction am permitted to say that the government proposes to rent the land wherever feasible subject to certain conditions.
Buildings will be erected for permanent post and storage for munitions of war, supplies and equipments for 20,000 men.
With regard to the moral phase of the question, I don’t think disciplined soldiers are any worse than a hoodlum element, but it is rather strange that that objection was not raised when Oceano was proposed and that fears were not then entertained for the morality of Pismo and Arroyo Grande. The authors of these silly rumors must have greater reasons than these for their assertions, or there would be no object in making them. In any case they are inimical to the best interests of the city and retention of county seat.
When I proposed Edna as a suitable location for military purposes, I conceived that I was acting in the best interests of the community, railroads and government, and felt as any broadminded citizen ought to feel, that in slighting some of our best landscape locations, which possessed all the advantages sought, we had no chance in competing with others.
With this in view I worked unremittingly to obtain a return of the committee, with most gratifying results, and if it be the desire of our citizens to promote the growth and importance of the city between it and the beach, such an opportunity is within the scope of possibility.
I am working for business, not for glory; my success is but the success of all shared in common with each other. This is my home and (I) work for it to the best of my ability, not in speaking disparingly (sic) of other places, but in giving proper consideration to the advantages we possess, for certain purposes, which some places less favored by nature cannot produce.
If Edna has advantage of a superior character, we do no wrong in submitting them for consideration.
The military commission will decide that question, and if the most intelligent portion of our citizens wish to second my efforts, I believe we have every fair hope of success. Beyond this I have nothing to add and am willing to abide by the issue of events.

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