Discover the Past at Pioneer Museum

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011


Take a free tour and discover Paso Robles history

The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, located at 2010 Riverside Avenue, next to the Mid- State Fairgrounds, is a great place to visit for an afternoon excursion and to learn the history of the Paso Robles area. Knowledgeable docents are on hand to answer any and all questions.

The 20,000 square feet of building space shows Paso Robles through the years, even before it was Paso Robles, and gives visitors a glimpse of what life was like in the good ole days. A non-profit organization, the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is funded by donations and events throughout the year.

Exhibits galore

The museum opened in 1972 with a 6,000 square foot building, which now houses the collection of antique buggies, carriages and cars. Visitors to the museum will explore three large rooms that have different interesting exhibits; many are kept up by local community organizations.

Start the tour with learning about the geological eras, and view fossilized bones that were dug up in the Paso Robles vicinity. Next, learn about the area’s Western heritage, including an exhibit with cowboy, horse and saddle artifacts.

One exhibit in the museum is dedicated to the famous pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who came to Paso Robles for the healing powers of the baths when his rheumatism became debilitating in the early 1900’s.

Another exhibit shows an old-fashioned hand-set type and Linotype machine that made it easier to produce type; the blocks used to produce printed materials for this machine are also on display. In the Paso Robles Bank display are a collection of antique typewriters, calculators and other office equipment. Next to the bank vault, discover rifles and shotguns collected by Clark S. Smith. The country store display is sure to have visitors transport back in time. The Post Office exhibit, part of the general store, shows Mr. Patsey Dunn’s store, the home of the first Post Office in Paso Robles, as well as mailboxes from San Miguel.

Several of the exhibits show life as it was in the early years of Paso Robles, including a pioneer housewife hard at work, with the wood-burning stove she used to heat irons to press clothes, and a bedroom scene complete with lamps, candles, handmade quilts, baby carriages and much more.

Buggy barn & schoolhouse

In the “Buggy Barn” view the many showcased vehicles that have been used over the years, including antique cars which are kept running by volunteers, and carriages and wagons, some of which are used in the annual Pioneer Day Parade. Also, be sure to check out the wall filled with almost 900 different kinds of barbed-wire, made by different manufacturers.

The Geneseo schoolhouse stands outside the main building on the museum grounds. It was donated by the family of the late Linden Chandler in 2004 and shows a typical classroom during the early years of the community.

The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is located at 2010 Riverside Avenue, next to the Mid- State Fairgrounds, and is open Thursday through Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free. Special groups can also arrange a tour, and the museum is also available for special events. For more information call (805) 239-4556 or see the website at

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