Paso Robles 125th Anniversary Homepage

In few places do the past and present converge as vividly as they do in Paso Robles. Now, with the 125th anniversary of the city’s founding in 1889, the City of Paso Robles is celebrating the ties that bind prior generations to today’s community, and to honor the legacies of those who forged the city’s reputation for fine wine, warm hospitality and enduring pioneer spirit.

The festivities will unfold throughout the calendar year of 2014, beginning with a bang at a commemorative fireworks show at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Join us as we enrich the future of Paso Robles by celebrating the roots of our community during this momentous anniversary year.

  • 1st Hotel Opens in 1864

    1850: California becomes 31st State

    1860: Drury W. James and partner J.D. Thompson purchase the La Panza Rancho.

    1862: Daily Stage Coach Service begins

    1864: 1st Hot Springs Hotel opens for business (14 rooms). The first week it was open the hotel had 50 guests

    1868: Drury James Purchases 1/2 interest in townsite and moves to Paso Robles from La Panza Ranch.

  • 1st Horse-drawn Streetcar

    1880: Horse drawn trolley on rails installed to bring guests to the hotel and mud baths.

    October 1886: Southern Pacific Railroad extended service to Paso Robles from Soledad.

    November 1886: Grand Auction held, 228 Paso City lots were sold.

    1887: Railroad Station erected at 8th and Pine

    1887: Drury James donates land for City Park.

    March 11, 1889: Paso Robles becomes a City. Incorporated as city of El Paso de Roblas.

    November 29, 1889: Town name changed from "Roblas" to "Robles".

  • 1892: Paso Robles High School

    1891: Population at 820 residents.

    1892: 1st High School in the County opens, located on site of present day Marie Bauer School.

    May 5, 1894: Railroad reached San Luis Obispo.

  • Municipal Bath House

    1901: First established Free Reading Room & Library in the Blackburn building (the clock tower building) on 12th and Park Streets.

    July 1, 1902: 1st Taxi service: William C. 'Billy' Henderson purchased two Rambler automobiles for the first taxi service and car rental business operating out of the Pioneer Garage at 13th and Pine Streets. Pioneer Garage later moved to 13th and Spring Streets in 1914.

    April 1, 1906: The Fairbairn Building, aka Municipal Bath House, was built at 840 11th Street.

    June 19, 1908: Carnegie Library formal opening; over 600 people attend the event.

    September 21, 1908: Opening & Dedication of 13th Street Bridge, later renamed "Robert Rader Bridge" in honor of P.R. teacher who served in the "Band of Brothers" during World War II.

    September 2, 1909: Street car line came to an end. Hiram Taylor, City Councilman, purchased a majority of the stock and declared that he would refuse to run the railway.

  • 1919: Almond Growers Advertisment

    January 13, 1912: Pro baseball team winter training: The San Francisco Seals baseball team used Paso Robles for their winter training.

    August 1, 1912: Alcohol Prohibited: Members of the 'Citizen's Ticket' party voted out the 'People's' Party and the town went dry.

    January 11, 1913: Lowest temperature - 6 below- in history of the city.

    1913: White Sox play in Paso Robles and the City receives first electric power.

    January 31, 1914: Rainstorm flooding destroys 13th St. Bridge. A swinging pedestrian bridge was used until after WW1 when it was replaced.

    1914: Rancho San Ignacio established: Paderewski purchases land for orchards and vineyards.

    1915: Paderewski purchases land on Adelaida Road and names Rancho Santa Helena for his wife. He continues to make regular visits here until 1940.

    1919: Almond Growers advertise for investors. Associated Almond Growers of P.R. advertise in Sunset Magazine offering investors 10 acres of almond trees for $25 a month.

  • Farmers Alliance Almonds

    1920: Paso Robles was the hub of 25,000 acres of producing Almond trees, later becoming known as the 'Almond Capital of the World.

    1922: Farmers Alliance Building constructed Located at 6th and Riverside. Streets are paved throughout the city; Art Peters, a Rotarian, was responsible for street paving and for putting in sidewalks.

    1924: Peter's Laundry Whistle. Laundry whistle starts blowing 4 times a day from Peter's Laundry at 14th and Pine. Whistle still blows at noon daily.

    December 1, 1928: Spring Street is paved for $40,244.28 by Irving I. Ryder, a San Jose contractor.

  • 1934: Pittsburg Pirates arrive for Spring Training

    January 19, 1931: Busi's Café opens, located at 1122 Pine Street with historic back bar from Green Dragon Saloon. Currently an Irish pub (Pappy MacGregors).

    February, 1934: Pittsburg Pirates arrive on the Daylight Limited for Spring Training. Photo courtesy of

    July 1, 1934: 1st County Fair held. Originally held at the Recreational Park and moved to present location at 2198 Riverside in 1946, after WWII.

  • 1940: Paso Robles Hotel Fire

    1940: Population 3,045.

    December 12, 1940: El Paso De Robles Hotel Fire.

    February 1, 1941: Camp Roberts opens, causing population boom in Paso Robles with an influx of workers, Army officers, trainees and USO entertainers.

    1941: Paso Robles is the largest Almond growing area, with the largest hulling plant in the world.

    April 8, 1943: Estrella Army Airfield is dedicated for the use of the Army Aircorps, on site of present day Municipal Airport.

    1947: California Almond builds Cal-Ag processing plant at 4th and Spring Streets.

  • 1952: KRPL Radio

    1950: Population 4,800.

    March 1, 1952: Sherwood Acres annexed to City Site of previous Sherwood Airfield. Sherwood Acres is first residential annexation to City.

    1952: Southwest Airlines begins commercial passenger service for northern SLO county at the Estrella Airport. Commercial service terminated in 1973.

    1952: Dale & Barney Schwartz purchase KPRL radio.

  • 1965: Ronald Reagan

    1960: Population 6,800.

    1961: 1st Annual Agri-Business Tour. Tour sponsored by Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.

    December 1, 1960: 1st Annual Christmas Parade.

    November 22, 1963: Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel destroyed by fire. Located at 13th and Spring and built in 1931. First called the Taylor Hotel but later renamed Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel. The hotel was closed at the time awaiting remodeling. Fire started by stored drums of paint thinner. Police station and City Jail were located in the rear of the hotel on the ground floor along 13th St.

    1965: Ronald Reagan rides in Pioneer Day Parade. A frequent visitor to the area, future President Ronald Reagan also participated in several of the Annual P.R. Trail rides. He announced his candidacy for governor and made a principal speech here.

  • 1970: First Airport Day

    1970: Population 7,200.

    September 1, 1973: 1st Annual Airport Day & Air Show.

    1976: Ronald Reagan attends a GOP fundraiser, where he hears Juanita Booker sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. At his request, she sings at his Presidential Inauguration in 1981.

  • 1989: Paso Robles Centennial Anniversary

    1980: Population 9,045.

    1981: San Luis County Fair changed its name to Mid State Fair. The fair was extended to 12 days with attendance of over 500,000.

    1982: Population 10,000.

    1989: Paso Robles celebrates its Centennial Anniversary.

  • 1997: Re-Opening of Carnegie Library

    1990: Population 18,600.

    1993: Population 21,000.

    1994: Paso Robles Train depot becomes business sites.

    February 27, 1995: Ray Bradbury attends the library dedication ceremony for current library, located at 1000 Spring Street.

    1996: Mid State Fair's 50th Anniversary. Fair became self supporting.

    December 7, 1997: Reopening of Carnegie Library as the home of The Historical Society. A lease agreement with the City of Paso Robles and Paso Robles Area Historical Society gives former Carnegie Library and new name: The Carnegie Historic Library.

    June 19, 1998: Carnegie Historic Library designated as a Historic Landmark by the State of California and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

  • 2009: Festival of the Arts Inaugural Event

    2000: Population 24,300.

    August 1, 2001: Historic Train Depot is restored and is now known as 'The Depot'.

    2002: The City opens the 40 acre Barney Schwartz Park with 8 sports fields, 2 children’s play areas and a lake.

    July 2, 2003: Paso Robles is a Great American Main Street award winner.

    August 2, 2003: 1st Annual Olive Festival Sponsered by Main Street Association.

    December 23, 2003: The San Simeon Earthquake, registering a magnitude of 6.5, jolts Paso Robles at 11:15am.

    2006: Population 28,000.

    2006: City received $4 million grant from State Water Resources for Salinas River Corridor land acquisition and restoration.

    February 19, 2009: Amgen Tour, Stage 5 Finish: Mark Cavendish wins the stage for Team Columbia-High Road.

    July 20, 2009: Woodland Autombile Display Building was added by Estrella Warbirds Museum.

    May 25, 2009: Just weeks after opening in 2009, Studios on the Park co-hosted the inaugural Festival of the Arts, Memorial Day Weekend. Photo courtesy of Syl Arena

  • 2011: Amgen Tour

    2010: Population 29,800.

    2010: 154 Acres (1-1/2 miles) of river corridor and riparian area purchased by the City of Paso Robles.

    May 19, 2011: Amgen Tour, Stage 5 Finish: Peter Sagan wins the stage for Team Liquigas-Cannondale. Photo courtesy of Laura Ryan.

    2011: City Council passed Historic Preservation Ordinance based on recommendations from local historians.

    2012: Charolais Trail and restoration project completed – 1/2 mile stretch funded by a State Grant.

    2012: South River Trail construction completed – ½ mile stretch funded by State and Federal funds.

    2012: Derby Wine Estates began renovating and preserving the Farmers Alliance Building on Riverside Avenue.

    2013: Paso Robles was designated a Bicycle-Friendly City by the League of American bicyclists.

    2013: Vina Robles Amphitheatre opens.

Top of Page