Tag Archive: Environment

Jun 12

Uncovering Moses of Guadalupe, Cecil B. DeMille films Ten Commandments in 1923

Glen Wharton shows a portion of Cecil B. DeMille's set for the 1923 movie The Ten Commandments, filmed in the Guadalupe Dunes. The set had been buried in sand for over 65 years when it was uncovered in the 1990.
©The Tribune/David Middlecamp

Is it archeology when the artifacts are actually movie prop replicas made of plaster? Ancient Egypt has long captured the imagination of story tellers and in 1923 Cecil B. DeMille was setting the standard for epic movies, before color and sound had come into the picture. He would later remake the epic story in color …

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Jan 16

Pinnacles National Park, the newest and smallest NP

This photo is from trip to the west side of Pinnacles in 1984. ©David Middlecamp

Pinnacles National Park is the closest to San Luis Obispo, the newest and the smallest in the park system. President Barack Obama signed legislation Jan 10, 2013 upgrading the national monument to the more prominent national park status. The 59th national park is 26,000 acres of volcanic spires and a home to the endangered California …

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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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Jun 24

Klau Mine, Erwin Rommel – World War II week by week

Telegram-Tribune front page from June 18, 1942. Rommel advances in the desert. Rubber recycling and the Klau Mine sale are local news.

Mining began at the Klau/Buena Vista site in in 1868. During World Wars I and II mercury and chrome were a national security resource. Mercury was used in a variety of weapons. Seventy years ago Klau Mine sold for $75,000 to H.W. Gould and Company of San Francisco. (The U.S. inflation calculator places the value …

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Mar 26

Don’t frack on me, lessons from Unocal’s Guadalupe pollution settlement

"Unocal to pay $43.8 million for polluting fragile dunes"; Telegram-Tribune front page July 22, 1998.

What could be bad about a process called fracking? Energy companies now wish they had come up with a less dirty sounding name for the process of hydraulic fracturing, using high pressure water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release natural gas. I’m all for energy independence but I’m also in favor of responsible …

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Feb 14

Morro Bay Power Plant

PG&E's Morro Bay Powerplant. The first smokestack. From 7-7-1955 dedication edition of the Telegram-Tribune

When the Morro Bay Power Plant generated its first kilowatt it was an engineering marvel, even if it had only one smokestack. The special section published July 7, 1955 as the plant built by PG&E plant opened contains a lot of eye openers. According to the Bechtel advertisement the plant’s desalting component was believed to …

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Sep 30

Sewer Stomp, dancing under San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly students prepare for a dance, the "Sewer Stomp" in San Luis Creek under town. ©The Tribune- Jim Vestal Dark, wet, smelly and filled with bats. Perfect venue for a party. If you have been there you know what it is like down there. Before covering stories on the creek I took part in …

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Aug 28

Chrome refining World War II week by week

Telegram-Tribune August 20, 1941 front page I am revisiting August 20, 1941 from last week to include this story. A little while back we talked about the upswing of interest in mining as war clouds gathered. Some fresh interesting details, San Luis Obispo County is the oldest and one of the richest chrome producing regions …

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Jul 24

Mining Chrome, World War II week by week

July 24, 1941 Telegram-Tribune War was the in the text or subtext of front page articles in the Summer of 1941. Aluminum pots were being collected to be recycled into airplane skins. President Roosevelt said the U.S. sold oil to Japan as a measure of appeasement to prevent the war from spreading into the South …

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Sep 25

Cuesta Freeway

Proposed freeway interchange brought Highway 1 through a saddle in the hills next to the Madonna Inn at left.

Until the 101 freeway was built, driving through San Luis Obispo always required a dog leg turn. Highway 1 is offset from 227. Driving north on the old highway, a traveler enters on Higuera and exits on Monterey Streets. Creeks, hills, and later railroads and freeway have all conspired to tangle with the mind of …

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