Art wine and travel tour of Paso Robles
This area of the Central Coast, known as the City of El Paso De Robles, Paso Robles or simply, "Paso," is known for its thermal springs. The Salinan Indians lived in the area thousands of years even before the mission era. They knew this area as the “Springs” or the “Hot Springs.”
Paso Robles is located on the Rancho Paso de Robles Mexican land grant
that was purchased by James and Daniel Blackburn in 1857. The land was a rest-stop for travelers of the Camino Real trail, and was known for its mineral hot springs. In fact, Franciscan priests from neighboring Mission San Miguel constructed the first mineral baths in the area. During this period, Paso Robles began to attract the pioneer settlers who would become the founding members of the community. They would later establish cattle ranches, apple and almond orchards, dairy farms, and vineyards.
In 1864, the first El Paso de Robles Hotel was constructed and featured a hot mineral springs bath house.
James and Daniel Blackburn donated two blocks to the city for a public park to be used for the pleasure of its citizens and visitors. By original deed, the land was to revert to the donors if used for any other purpose than a public park. The grounds were laid out by a Mr. Redington and a planting day was held when each citizen set out his own donation. Originally, the whole park was hedged in by a fence of cactus, and in 1890 a bandstand was built with money raised by private theatricals.
In 1886, after the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad, work began on laying out a town site, with the resort as the nucleus. Two weeks after the first train arrived on October 31, 1886, a three-day celebration was held including a special train from San Francisco bringing prospective buyers, who toured the area and enjoyed the daily barbecues. On November 17, the “Grand Auction” was held, resulting in the sale of 228 lots.
The local agent for the SPR when it arrived in Paso Robles was R. M. 'Dick' Shackelford, a Kentucky native who had come to California in 1853 to dig for gold. Shackelford had a varied career, going from gold mining to hauling freight by ox team, to lumbering, which took him to Nevada, where he served one term as a delegate in the state's first legislature for Washoe County. By 1886 Shackelford had returned to California and was living in Paso Robles, where he began buying up extensive property, building warehouses and starting lumber yards along the railroad's route. Shackelford also established the Southern Pacific Milling Company, which had a virtual monopoly on local milling until local farmers, in an effort to break Shackelford's strangehold, themselves organized their own milling cooperative, the Farmers' Alliance Flour Mill.
In 1889, the same year that Paso Robles incorporated as a city, construction began on a magnificent new hotel. The hotel required over one-million bricks and cost a princely $160,000. The new El Paso de Robles Hotel opened for business in 1891. The new hotel was three stories tall and built of solid masonry, set off by sandstone arches. This ensured the hotel was completely fireproof. The hotel also featured a seven acre (28,000 m²) garden and nine hole golf course. Inside there was a library, a beauty salon, a barber shop, and various billiard and lounging rooms. The new hotel also offered an improved hot springs plunge bath as well as 32 individual bath rooms. The 20 by 40-foot (12 m) plunge bath was considered one of the finest and most complete of its time in the United States.
On January 17, 1914, the world's most well-known concert pianist and composer came to the hotel: Ignace Paderewski. After three weeks of treatments at the hotel's mineral hot springs for his arthritis, he resumed his concert tour. He later returned to live at the hotel and bought two beautiful ranches just west of Paso Robles.
During the next 30 years, the hotel was visited by other notables: Boxing champion Jack Dempsey, President Theodore Roosevelt, Adela Rogers - St. John, Phoebe Apperson Hearst (the mother of William Randolph Hearst), actors Douglas Fairbanks, Boris Karloff, Bob Hope, and Clark Gable all stayed at the El Paso de Robles Hotel. And when Major League baseball teams used Paso Robles as a spring training home, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox stayed at the hotel and soaked in the mineral hot springs to sooth tired muscles.
For a time, Paso Robles was known as the “Almond City” because the local almond growers created the largest concentration of almond orchards in the world. The ranchers in the outlying areas were very important to the Paso Robles area. On these ranches were cattle and horses, grain crops (primarily wheat and barley), garden produce and fruit and nut orchards. Many of these ranch lands and orchards have become vineyards for the many wineries which currently draw tourists to the area.
To show their appreciation to the ranchers, the business people established Pioneer Day in October 1931, which is still a huge annual celebration. Pioneer Day is celebrated every year on the Saturday prior to October 12. It was originally organized by community volunteers working with generous donations of time, materials and money from individuals, businesses, churches and service organizations. Their goal was to provide a day of community friendship and a commemoration of the heritage of the Paso Robles area. It would also become a day set aside to say “Thank You” to all of the people who support the business and professional community of the area throughout the year. Most businesses closed so that their employees could enjoy and participate in the activities and family reunions. There were to be no charges for any of the events, no commercial concessions and lunch would be provided at no cost.
In December 1940, tragedy struck. A spectacular fire completely destroyed the "fire-proof" El Paso de Robles Hotel. Guests staying the night escaped unharmed. However, the night clerk who discovered the fire suffered a fatal heart attack immediately after sounding the alarm. Within months after the blaze, plans for a new hotel to be built on the site were drawn up. The design was an entirely new concept: A Garden Inn - Hotel, designed to accommodate motor vehicle travellers. By February 1942 construction was complete and the new Paso Robles Inn opened for business.
Through the 1960s and 1970s, few changes occurred at the Paso Robles Inn. However, the City of Paso Robles experienced significant growth. The area's wine industry flourished, the California Mid-State Fair expanded into a regional attraction, local lakes, such as Lake Nacimiento, became family vacation destinations and Paso Robles' reputation as a charming and friendly community grew.
Paso Robles,California,city,population,in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States,zip code 93446,