Category Archive: 1950s

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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Jun 19

Lovern’s Clam Bell of Oceano

The clam bell called Oceaon clammers to the clams for many years at Lovern's in Oceano

Drifting fog, a bell rings over the dunes a cold clam fork in hand… On Sept. 7, 1989 Telegram-Tribune reporter Carol Roberts wrote about the clam bell. OCEANO — Betty Boyd had a few friends over last weekend to ring a bell. The bell once rang atop her dad Bill Lovern’s store on Pier Avenue, …

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Apr 10

Freeway construction begins in San Luis Obispo, 1952

Construction began in Spring of 1952 on the 101 freeway in San Luis Obispo.

It takes less time to travel this section of freeway than it takes to read about it. If you want to see the before picture click here. The Telegram-Tribune of March 25, 1952 carried the story: WORK STARTS ON S.L.O. FREEWAY Big Crossing Structures Come First Construction started today on the first of several freeway …

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Apr 06

San Luis Obispo city hall dedication

City Hall in San Luis Obispo is celebrated the day before dedication in a special issue of the Telegram-Tribune May 2, 1952.

A little over 60 years ago there was a lot happening in San Luis Obispo. One storm had brought a dusting of snow and another had brought flooding. Atmospheric atomic weapons tests in Nevada were lighting the night sky and the freeway and Atascadero State Hospital were under construction. A smiling U.S. Senator Richard Nixon …

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Apr 04

Every Ounce a Man’s Whiskey

March 13, 1952 advertisement for Early Times whiskey, every ounce a Man's whisky.

Spinning through microfilm from 1952 the photographer holding a Speed Graphic camera caught my eye. This was the workhorse camera for press photographers almost from the time it was invented in 1912. According to Wikipedia the camera helped photographers win the Pulitzer Prize from 1942-54 and even won in the category as late as 1961. …

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Mar 08

Carry a block of ice or advertise? Choose wisely

This ad from April 6, 1957 seemed to say, "If it wasn't for advertising we would all be carrying 50 pound blocks of ice on our backs."

This ad was a reminder to some adults of the 1950s to recall childhood. It skips over a key point. Before people could have refrigerators, utility lines had to be installed to houses. Very often the utility company bought advertising to expand the franchise as you can see from this 1907 ad. Gas stoves and …

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Jul 29

Union Hardware Store ad

1957 Union Hardware Store ad.

There aren’t may left. Most of the little local hardware stores have been absorbed by the big box home improvement and national superstores. No weekend is complete without a trip to the hardware store; I even made 4 trips during my vacation. O.K. I may have a problem. This advertisement from June 6, 1957 for …

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Jul 13

De Soto or DeSoto? Automobile advertising from 1957

De Soto advertisement from 1957.

It is a bad sign when a car company can’t agree on how to spell its own name in an advertisement. Is there a space in between De Soto or not? This ad from March 12, 1957 has it both ways. The company was founded as a mid-price brand by Walter Chrysler with the first …

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Jul 06

Morro Bay Power Plant construction

General Electric Stator, Highway 1, Camp San Luis Obispo, Hollister Peak

California has seen population growth on a scale not experienced by other states for most of its existence. Only recently have the growth numbers flattened. In the 1950s the growth trend line was accelerating as the baby boom was added to immigration into the Golden State. Not only were the raw numbers expanding but there …

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Jun 15

Don’t drink and flash, Olympia beer ad

Olympia Beer ad from March 13, 1957 Telegram-Tribune.

So, it’s the end of the week. Time to set down the camera and flashbulb and try to find a can opener. This ad is a parade of dead technology, tin can without a pull tab, metal screw top film can, flash bulb, film camera. I’m not sure how they filled the glass, perhaps they …

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