Why do we have a new State Project? The State Capitol in Benecia was adopted as our State Project at our meeting held in that city in the Fall of 2018. Since then, despite efforts by our past president, Elisabeth Gieger, no progress had been made in gaining cooperation either from the State of California, who owns the building, or the Benecia Historical Society. When the Atascadero Printery was suggested as an alternative, it was readily approved at our meeting in March. Other previous projects have included the Pioneer Mother Statue in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco & the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento.
The Printery, originally called the Press Building, was the first Atascadero Colony Civic building constructed by E.G. Lewis, a printer and entrepreneur, in 1915. The Colony land was originally purchased by Mrs. Mabel Lewis in the name of the Women’s Republic. They needed a way to reach the public to support the suffragette movement and to promote land sales for the Colony. The Printery published several important publications including The Woman’s National Weekly, The Illustrated Review, covers for Sunset Magazine and the Sunday supplements of the San Francisco Chronicle and the L.A. Times. Mr. Lewis used these periodicals to promote his land sales opportunities. The first issue of the Atascadero News was published at the Printery in 1916 and continued to be printed there until 1949.
The Printery has served many uses over the years. It was home to three different boys’ schools and was used by the National Youth Administration, where Jackie Robinson was an assistant athletic director. Additionally, it served as the Masonic Lodge, Sheriff’s Substation, and the School District offices. In 2004, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significant association with the early history of Atascadero and E.G. Lewis’s Atascadero Colony.
See this site for more info: https://www.atascaderohistoricalsociety.org/article-details.php?id=9
Beautiful original murals once hung in the entrance hall of the building. They are currently stored, awaiting restoration. These murals were painted by noted Chicago artist Ralph Holmes, who also lived in Atascadero. He wrote at the time, “The building became almost overnight a hive of activity with a large force of employees.“
Since being damaged in the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake, the Printery stood empty and has been subject to vandalism. The Atascadero Printery Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, purchased the building in 2017 and they are dedicated to the rehabilitation of this historic treasure.
The building will be made available as a community center with an emphasis on Arts, Education and History. Plans include a theater space for live productions and musical events, a working print museum featuring the history of Atascadero, as well as event and conference rooms.
The Printery Foundation also partners with APACC (Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee). Through this partnership, they are helping to plan, build and sustain a performing arts center for the community.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE:
Progress has already been made toward the rebuilding of the Printery.
The giant cracks in the West Mall caused by the 2003 Earthquake are mended and the two sides are secured together. This was a major repair needed to keep the walls intact. ( see damage to left, repair to right)
They continue to clean and repair the building and grounds. Tree stumps next to the foundation have been removed, the pigeons are OUT, and the vandalism has been slowed. Shoring up the Gymnasium wall and demolishing the added Karate Studio are next to be undertaken before gravity wins on the poorly supported walls.
YET TO COME:
The Structural Repair Plan is underway. This will determine exactly what needs to be done to repair and strengthen the entire structure. With this knowledge, the course to complete the building rehabilitation and the raising of funds to do so can be planned. This Repair Plan is required for many grant applications.
In Golden Gate Park, there is only one statue of a woman. This is the Pioneer Mother, the 1915 work of Charles Grafly for the Pan Pacific Exposition of 1915. California Questers P&R Fund restored the statue and the base.
Questers has replaced curtains, repaired a hall stained glass window, replaced the dining room silver pattern Orleans.
The chapter raised funds, applied for and received a Quester state grant, and installed a retaining wall to prevent grave slippage at the cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting place of several of Fallbrook’s early pioneers including the Gird Family and the Reverend William Pittenger, a civil war Medal of Honor winner.
Oak of the Golden dream has completed the project of restoring an original, late 1920’s lamppost that stands at what was once the entrance to the retirement ranch of silent movie star William S Hart.t.
Recently Adobe took on a project to complete light fixtures for all the rooms upstairs and downstairs. This effort will result in the installation of historically accurate fixtures and, in some cases, replace inappropriate or imitation antique fixtures.
The Tabard Inn Library revolving bookcase, circa 1900 to 1905, was restored by the El Camino Real Questers as displayed in the Oceanside, CA library. Tabard Inn Library bookcases were placed in train stations, hotel lobbies, etc where members could exchange books for 5 cents after joining the subscription library.
Amador funded and a chapter member made the farm house table used by the volunteers and guests..
The P&R Project that the De Tolosa Questers undertook was the conservation, stabilization and framing of the art by Maria Ascencion Dallidet.
With the help of a State Matching Grant we were able to accomplish that.
First of up to 14 plaques was dedicated October 13, 2011 in Visalia.
There were three Palace Hotels built following the discovery in 1872 of Silver in Mineral King (located in the high Sierras above Visalia). The first one was built in San Francisco, next Visalia then Porterville. The hotels provided lodging for investors in route to the silver mines. The Palace Hotel's upper story in Visalia remains essentially unchanged from the 1930s.
One of our members, found this trunk online in an auction (or on Ebay? Another member bid on it and we were able to get it for a great price. It was later appraised for $2000 though we paid much less. It was from 1847, the right historical period, and just what the Rancho Nipomo Dana Adobe wanted.
Major improvements to our P&R project, the kitchen and dining room of the Pittenger House, (Sgt. William Pittenger 1840-1904, a Union Army Soldier) are complete