Category Archive: 1880s

Jul 11

Ah Louis, pioneer builder of San Luis Obispo

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

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 …

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Feb 12

Avila truss bridge collapses, vestage of the Pacific Coast Railway

The 98-year-old Pacific Coast Railway bridge near Port San Luis collapsed on its own weight in San Luis Creek.
©Wayne Nicholls/Telegram-Tribune

You may have wondered about the mysterious henge looming beside San Luis Creek in Avila Beach. It is one of the last remaining monuments to the dawn of modern Central Coast transportation, the Pacific Coast Railway. The concrete plinth was an underpinning to Bridge No. 5. The narrow gauge rails were in use for 66 …

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Jan 22

The Oceano Southern Pacific Depot restoration and Harold Guiton

Harold Guiton stands in front of the Southern Pacific, Oceano Depot, ready to continue with the restoration.
©Doug Parker/The Tribune

Harold Guiton would be happy to see the depot in use today. He and other volunteers saved what is now the only remaining Southern Pacific Depot in the county. Paso Robles modernized and remodeled their depot after a fire so it is little like the original structure. San Luis Obispo bulldozed their wood frame depot. …

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Dec 20

George Staniford, Tribune and Breeze Editor

George Breck Staniford - Photo courtesy King David's Masonic Lodge of San Luis Obispo.

They could have been bitter rivals. Benjamin Brooks was the long time editor of The Tribune. George Staniford had owned The Tribune before Brooks and later owned a competing paper the Breeze. Both held high office in the Masonic lodge. Often rival newspapers of the era engaged in ugly personal attacks between editors and some …

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Oct 08

Good-bye Squirrels

Booth's Squirrel and gopher exterminator ad from May 8, 1880.

A couple of years ago they waited, watching, biding their time. When my beefsteak tomatoes were three days from harvest they struck. Ground squirrel squads came through the fence and ate all the red, leaving lopsided green-striped tomato tops hanging from the vine. I could hear their high pitched laughter echoing from their dens. Apparently …

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Sep 19

The bloody banks of Antietam Creek

George Breck Staniford was an editor of the Tribune and also a member of Knights of Pythias, an offshoot of the Masonic organization. The gold star is affixed to member's photos when they pass away. Thanks to Robert Bettencourt, 2012 Master of the Lodge, King David's Lodge No. 209

The scene outside Sharpsburg, MD., 150 years ago today of Sept. 19, 1862. “The army advanced about noon and we crossed the field of slaughter. It was a sickening, loathsome sight — a sight that paled the cheeks of men strong of heart and nerve—a sight never to be forgotten. Rebel and Union lay mingled …

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Sep 04

Horatio Southgate Rembaugh, Tribune editor

Horatio Southgate Rembaugh, was the public face of the Tribune when it was founded in 1869. The photo is circa 1910. Photo courtesy Stacy McKitrick.

Horatio S. Rembaugh traveled many miles before he set out to California, arriving in San Luis Obispo just in time to help publish the first edition of the Tribune. Born in Philadelphia August 3, 1840 he would never know his mother. Ann Rembaugh died within 9 months of Horatio’s birth. The fourth and last child …

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Aug 28

Early days of the Tribune


From the first edition August 7, 1869 and for almost 8 years Horatio Southgate Rembaugh was the common thread in the management of the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Except for an unfortunate three-month interlude under the ownership of James J. Ayers, the Tribune would be associated with H.S. Rembaugh. Either as the announced owner, actual …

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Aug 24

Whaling tale from San Simeon

Advertisement for a corset from the May 21, 1907 edition of the Telegram.

Whales were once used to make oil used for lubrication and illumination in the days before petroleum and electricity. Women’s corsets were also made from whale bone. Actually the material was baleen, the hard material in the mouths of filter feeding whales. It was tough and flexible, the plastic of the era. Collar stays, buggy …

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Aug 01

J.J. Ayers, The Tribune’s second editor, family details

James J. Ayers wrote an editorial when he took over The San Luis Obispo Tribune. in October 1871. Of the dozen or more papers he worked at, owned or founded this would be one of his shortest tenures.

The previous two postings on former Tribune editor and western journalist J.J. Ayers were woefully skimpy on details from his personal life. His observations of life in the Gold Rush west leave out all family details. By scraping information from digitized newspapers and books from the era a more complete picture emerges of the pioneer …

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