Site  by Lynne Landwehr © 2001






Features and Information: 
    First-Person Historical Narratives


From Ruth Kedzie Wood’s
The Tourist’s California,
New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915

[Note: You can click on any of the thumbnail postcard photos to see a larger version.]

"South of the Hot Springs on the road to San Luis Obispo is the military camp at Atascadero, where, at certain seasons, stirring war games are enacted.  Eastward is the Tulare Desert, westward the sea, both walled out by sturdy heights.  
PostcardAtascaderoArmyManeuvers1918Atascadero.jpg (44641 bytes)
"Atascadero, where...
stirring war games are enacted."

"At an elevation of 1000 feet, we glimpse the vale that spreads to the base of the twin crowns, San Luis and Obispo.  In the valley, ‘baking in a circle of gaunt hills,’ reclines the City of the Bishop, seat of a county as varied in its scenery as in the products of its soil.

"The Spaniards named the Mission they established here for St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa [Toulouse, France].  A quarter of a century later, another St. Louis was thus honoured, he who had been king of France; his namesake settlement [San Luis Rey] is situated near San Diego. "  


PostcardSLOMissionSLOin20s.jpg (7532 bytes)
Mission San Luis Obispo
as it appeared at the time
Ruth Kedzie Woods visited it.


"The main building of the Bishop’s Mission is still used for mass, though its physiognomy has been utterly spoiled by an over-lay of boards and the substitution of shingles for the mellow red of the pottery roof.  A Carnegie Library has made inroads upon one of the walls.  In the garden-court, guarded by a white-pillared portico and the cupola-spire of the church, are gnarled grapevines and an enormous palm.  The ranch wool was employed by the Indians in weaving blue cloth and blankets, and they also made tiles of superior reputation.  The title-pages of the monastery and marriage registers, inscribed in the flourish of Fr. Junipero Serra himself, set forth that the Mission was founded a expensas del Catholico Rey de los Españas, el Señor Dn Carlos III on the first day of September, 1772.  One of the bells in the tower was cast a century ago, in a Peruvian foundry.   
PostcardSLOOldCourthouse.jpg (29930 bytes) "Near the Court House may still be seen the grass-covered trenches which Fremont constructed 
previous to the attack on the settlement when, on his way to help put down the rising in Southern California in 1846, he was informed, and wrongly as it developed, that enemies were hiding there.  
PostcardSLOCalPolyViewedfromUpBishopPeak.jpg (22988 bytes) "A mile from the Court House is the Free Polytechnic School controlled by the State. 
 "Seven miles distant are the Hot Springs, reached from the town by stage. PostcardSanLuisHotSulphurSpringsSLO.jpg (88425 bytes)
"Port Harford is the well-protected harbour of San Luis.  A short rail line and the Camino Real run to it.  A little way south is Pizmo Beach, which is an extraordinary floor of hard-packed sand extending for 
PostcardPismoBeachAerial1920s.jpg (14972 bytes) 20 miles between long rocky arms….In winter it is as lonely as it is vast and sonorous with the boom of the surf. 
But summer finds it alive with throngs who dwell for the most part in tents and cottages, and consume PostcardPismoBeach1917TentCity.jpg (101177 bytes)
 with limitless appetite the fine-flavoured clams of this strand.  Over the firm shining track, many fast motor-races are run. 

"On the way down the coast, the rails of the main line are laid for miles by the edge of the sea.  The Royal Road for motorists, and for those who prefer to enjoy this picturesque region behind or astride a good horse, turns east from the Southern Pacific at Pizmo Station, and follows the general direction of the Pacific Coast Railway for about 70 miles through the Arroyo Grande Valley among walnut groves, past ranchos planted to sweet pea and nasturtium, through fields of sugar-beets and heavy growths of the Australian Blue Gum to Los Olivos.  In this vicinity was the estate of a cousin of Richard Dana, Jr., which was the meeting-place of the letter carriers who left San Francisco and San Diego every Monday and exchanged their pouches here."


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Copyright © 2001 Lynne Landwehr.  All rights reserved.