Tag Archive: Cuesta Grade

Jan 08

When Huell Howser visited Cuesta Grade

Huell Howser host of  public television's "California's Gold" and Bill Loper of the San Luis Obispo Historical Society on Cuesta Grade in 1994.

Huell Howser had what many would consider a dream job, travel, access to interesting places. He was producer and host of a series of shows that highlighted the nature and history of California. He made the most of his opportunities throughout the state with a sense glee that put his subjects at ease and made …

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Aug 21

Stage Coach advertisement, 1876 transportation

Stage coach advertisement for Coast Stage Line Company offering service from Salinas to San Diego, July 26, 1876.

There are several roads in the county with the moniker Stage Coach Road, echos of a more romantic era of travel. That is if you equate romance with grit, smell, jolting and danger. This advertisement from the San Luis Tribune – shortly after the nation’s centennial – outline the joys of land transportation in 1876. …

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May 02

The last sunset for the Southern Pacific

View from Southern Pacific caboose departing San Luis Obispo northbound. ©Ken Chen/Telegram-Tribune

One of the Southern Pacific’s last major routes constructed was on the Coast Line between Ellwood and Santa Margarita. The railroad, founded as the Central Pacific in 1861 did not arrive in San Luis Obispo until 1894 and did not complete a San Francisco to Los Angeles Coast route until 1901. Further construction revised the …

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Jan 07

Salinas Dam water tunnel completed under Cuesta Grade, World War II week by week

After tunneling toward each other since early July from opposite sides of the mountain just west of the Cuesta, William Ward, foreground, and Bob Becham, right, congratulate themselves upon holing through last week. Thirty-nine men worked in three daily shifts in each portal of the mile long tunnel which will serve Camp San Luis Obispo and San Luis Obispo with water from the Upper Salinas river dam. The tunnel is six and one-half feet by eight and one-half feet and will be concrete lined. Joe DeMillita is superintendent of operations. Photo by Rodney Johnson

The year dawned with news of American and Philippine troops trying to hold ground against repeated attacks. Manila and the naval base at Cavite fell into Japanese hands as Allied troops formed a line at the top of Bataan Peninsula. This and the fortified island of Corregidor would deny use of Manila Bay to the …

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Dec 05

Southern Pacific builds Stenner Creek Bridge, Cuesta Grade construction on the Coast Line

Illustration from the Tribune's Souvenir Edition from May 1894 showing construction of the Stenner Creek Bridge on the Coast Line of the Southern Pacific.

The Thompson Bridge Company of San Fransisco was  at Stenner Creek, building a structure that caused sense of wonder in the little cow county. People would drive out from San Luis Obispo in their horse and buggy or walk from town to see the magnificent structure take shape. They would see steel being lifted into …

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Dec 01

Finding the lost bridge: Building the Stenner Creek Bridge part 1

The traveller hoists steel to build the Stenner Creek Bridge as the Southern Pacific railroad came down Cuesta Grade and approached San Luis Obispo. photo was shared by Mrs. A.C. Bolton. ©The Tribune

They had to find the bridge before they could build it. After the tunnels had been carved into the Santa Lucia the Southern Pacific railroad snaked down the Grade to the foot of the mountain range where it makes a 180 degree turn known as the horseshoe. To maintain elevation the railroad had to span …

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Nov 17

Kids playing with guns

It is a bit of a tossup, kids today are presented with difficult choices but end of the 19th century had it’s share of danger.  Morning Tribune editor Benjamin Brooks was surveying the railroad construction on Cuesta Grade when he came across this story. The story begins, as it often does, with boys looking for …

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Nov 16

San Luis Obispo, Happiest place in America?

San Luis Obispo was not always known as the happiest place In America. Turn the clock back to 1894 and the town of about 3,000 was seen through a different lens. Rural, isolated, no colleges, no military bases, no state prison, no oil development, no major railroad San Luis Obispo was lagging behind other  fast …

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Oct 10

Speed hungry auto fiends on Cuesta Grade

OLD CUESTA ROAD–A photo from the California Division of Highways — now Caltrans — which once reported 71 hazardous curves on the highway north of San Luis Obispo. The auto road was built in 1915 and improved in 1923, the photo is from about 1922. Small government advocates would love to turn the clock back …

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Oct 20

Cuesta Grade claims two tires

Cuesta Grade claims two tires. ©The Tribune/Wayne Nicholls

I have written about my travails while traveling on Cuesta Grade. Since the time of the horse and buggy crossing the Santa Lucia Range has been an adventure. Some incidents are major, others minor, here these California Highway Patrol officers lost two tires to the road. This photo was published Monday August 27, 1979. Here …

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