Category Archive: Going, Going, Gone

May 07

The original shopping center for Atascadero

1917 Grand opening of the Mercantile/La Plaza building in Atascadero. It was behind the present day fire station.  Photo courtesy the Atascadero Historical Society

Edward Gardner Lewis and wife Mabel bought the 23,000 acre rancho that would become the colony of Atascadero for $850,000 in 1913. The utopian dreamer, land speculator and publisher envisioned a new city. By 1915 a tent city sold the subdivided lots and was the place for people to stay while building their homes. The …

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Mar 12

Searching for a photo in an almond sack

1966-Almond

Now that Photos From the Vault has been on the scene for a few years it is fairly common to get questions from folks wanting reprints of historic events. Usually the request is very specific but our filing system is not. Here is an example; a reporter juggling taking notes and pictures likely made the …

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Mar 07

Ernst Brothers storehouse and Sperry Flour Mill, Paso Robles

Ernst Brothers grain warehouse slated for demolition.

Wheat was once among the royalty of the cash crops in the region but now it is not even in the top 20. Look at the list of agricultural products in the 2011 crop statistics report put out by the county and very little of it is dry land farming. One of those end of …

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Mar 01

SLO Uncovered – Pirate’s Cove, the naked truth about the origin of a nude beach

Pirate's Cove became known as a nude beach in the early 1970s.

Originally all the beaches in the county were clothing optional. According to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, traditional Chumash garb was a two-piece skirt for women and perhaps a belt for men. Then along came the Spanish friars and beach attire became more modest. When did Pirate’s Cove become the Mecca for nude …

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Feb 22

Union Oil pier collapse, the storm of 1983

The Union Oil pier in Avila Beach collapses into the surf Tuesday afternoon after pounding waves undermined its pilings. 
©Ken Chen/Telegram-Tribune

Periodically big storms come in and wreak havoc with piers. For example in 1907 the Oilport pier, in what is now known as Shell Beach was demolished by a fierce storm. The pier at Port San Luis is usually the most sheltered in the region but thirty years ago no place was immune. The winter …

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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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Feb 06

Demolition and partial reconstruction of the Murray Adobe

The original  plan was to restore the Murray Adobe and open it as a museum. This rendering was circulated in January 1972.

In an Elliot Curry bylined story from March 7, 1967 the shape of Mission Plaza was under debate. The mayor, Clell Whelchel, was skeptical about closing Monterey Street. He wanted to use gas tax funds and keep the street open. Would the Murray adobe become victim of a street-widening proposal? Loren Nicholson, president of the …

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Feb 02

Murray Adobe in Mission Plaza

The first edition of the Tribune was printed here August 7, 1869. The Murray Adobe is much smaller than it was a few years earlier. The subject of the next posting.
©Wayne Nicholls/Telegram-Tribune Nov. 20, 1973

The previous two posts showed what the in the 1960s. By 1973 only the lean-to portion remained, the main house replaced by an arbor. What happened? The answer next week. By now you may recognize the building as the Murray Adobe, law office of Tribune founding editor Walter Murray. It is in Mission Plaza between …

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Jan 29

Name that adobe

The Murray Adobe in 1967, before Mission Plaza was built.

This week a little different format, the photo is a bit of a mental scavenger hunt. Can you name this building?

Jan 05

Studebaker cars, New! Beautiful! Exciting!

The 1964 Studebaker model year was introduced in Sept. 1963.

My friend Shawn Turner informs me that John Studebaker made money in the California gold fields making wheelbarrows for miners. He worked there from 1853-1858 when he returned to South Bend, Indiana and joined his brothers in the buggy and wagon business. Studebaker made the transition to automotive manufacture but by the mid-1960s the line …

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