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Dec 07

The end of horse and buggy days, the stage from San Luis to San Simeon

A.M. Bert Pettenger was a stage driver in 1905. This photo from 1968 finds him going strong at age 92. After the stage business folded he later owned a hamburger stand at the corner of Osos and Marsh streets. ©The Tribune

Technology changes and the job you thought you had is gone. I hear that one all the time. How about a job that only lasts one year?
Elliot Curry told the story in the Telegram-Tribune March 22, 1968:

Auto killed San Simeon run
Pettenger’s short-lived stage line

Two young fellows from Iowa stopped at the Commercial Hotel in San Luis Obispo one day in 1905 on their way from Sacramento to San Diego.
They learned at the hotel that the stage line from San Luis Obispo to San Simeon was for sale, and the upshot of it was they took over the business.
One of those men was A.M. (Bert) Pettenger, 474 Pacific St., San Luis Obispo, who next month will celebrate his 92nd birthday. His partner was John Sigler.
The Sigler-Pettenger stage line had two surreys, one leaving San Luis Obispo at 8 a.m. each day and the other starting from San Simeon. They met and passed at Cayucos.
The stage out of San Luis Obispo had stops at the Cienega store and Morro Bay before reaching Cayucos about 11:30 a.m. for a half-hour lunch stop. The stage carried the mail and at that time the Morro Bay post office was in a private home. Pettenger recalled one time when he had just one letter in the Morro Bay pouch.
The stage reached Cambria at 2:30 p.m. and got to San Simeon by 5 p.m. for the overnight stop.
On several occasions Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst rode the stage to San Simeon, where the Hearst ranch was already a well established institution.
The stage started from San Luis Obispo with a heavy team as loads were apt to be the heaviest from here to Cayucos. At Cayucos, horses were changed and a lighter team made the upper part of the drive.
About the time that Pettenger and Sigler were just getting established in their new business, however, a new hazard appeared on the road—the automobile.
By 1906, auto owners had become so bold that they under-bid the horse-drawn stages for the mail contract and a new era of transportation was born.
Pettenger is retired now, but still agile and fit. To a more recent generation the is known as the founder of Dad’s hamburger stand, which flourished under his direction in the days of World War II. His son, Lloyd, has long operated his own hamburger business. [Scrubby and Lloyds]
The Sigler family never got as far as San Diego, either.
Sigler’s son, John, now in his 70s lives in Paso Robles, while his grandson, Jack Sigler, operates a service station at the corner of Santa Rosa and Monterey streets, about a half block form where his grandfather used to climb into the driver’s seat and head for Cambria with the mail and a surrey full of passengers.

Pettenger’s hamburger stand at the corner of Osos and Marsh Streets owned by A.M. (Bert) Pettenger. Later called Dad’s.

Related posts:

  1. Cuesta Grade horse and buggy rollover
  2. Union Oil meets Horse and Buggy
  3. Horse drawn chemical truck, San Luis Obispo firefighters in 1906
  4. Stage Coach advertisement, 1876 transportation
  5. Early days of the San Luis Obispo post office