Unveiling local history at the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum

Monday, July 1st, 2024

Pioneer Museum Paso Robles

Experience the past through visual and written history

—The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is a great place for an afternoon excursion and to learn the history of the Paso Robles area. 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 old days. A non-profit organization, the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is funded by donations and events throughout the year.

Exhibits include everything from prehistoric artifacts and glimpses through the settlement and life in early Paso Robles. Learn about the area’s Western heritage; see the country store and post office displays and what the inside of a pioneer home looked like. Knowledgeable docents are on hand to answer questions.

There are antique buggies, carriages, and cars and a state-of-the-art exhibit honoring the famous pianist and Polish statesman, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who came to Paso Robles in the early 1900s for the healing baths for his rheumatism.

The actual one-room Geneseo schoolhouse stands outside the main museum building, complete with teacher and student desks. The schoolhouse was donated by the family of Linden Chandler in 2004. Originally located 11 miles east of Paso Robles, the Geneseo School was in use until 1962 when school buses began transporting students between home and town.

The Pioneer Museum’s history of school exhibit located inside the main museum building includes pictures and a short biography of Paso Robles area locals who have had a school named after them.

Take a stroll through Paso Robles of the 1930s and 40s. See a one-third-scale replica of the famous Paso Robles Hotel plus several stores and businesses that existed during that time. There’s a barber shop; a bakery; the Alexander Hotel; Dr. Wilmar’s office; the T&J Variety store; the Vogue dress shop; Bennett Pharmacy; Bryans Meat Market; R. J. Williams Real Estate Office, Hibbard’s Grocery, the Canary Cottage, Heaton’s and the Pine Street Saloon.

Wander down to Transportation Hall to see one of the largest collections of barbed wire in the western United States. This collection has been created in collaboration with the Barbed Wire Collectors Association and the Pioneer Museum. Don’t miss the Branding Exhibit, which includes brands from all over San Luis Obispo County.

Another exhibit is a collection of Land Grant Maps and photos of many of the original ranches in north San Luis Obispo County. This award-winning exhibit is brought to the museum by the San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen.

The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is located at 2010 Riverside Avenue, south of the Paso Robles Event Center, and is open Thursday through Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Groups can also arrange a tour, and the museum is available for special events. For more information visit pasoroblespioneermuseum.org or call (805) 239-4556.

About the Author