Take a free tour and discover Paso Robles history
The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, located at 2010 Riverside Avenue, south of the Paso Robles Event Center (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 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.
The museum opened in 1975 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.
Start the tour with learning about the geological eras, and view petrified bones that were from 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 1900s.
Another exhibit shows an old-fashioned Linotype machine that made it easier to produce type; the blocks used to produce printed materials for a printing press 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 transported 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 for cooking and for heating irons to press clothes. There is a parlor and a bedroom scene complete with lamps, candles, handmade quilts, baby carriages and much more.
Transportation Hall and the Geneseo schoolhouse
In Transportation Hall 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, collected over many years.
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 rural one-room school during the early years of the community.
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 always welcome. 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 www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org.