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our story


Virginia Peterson and Norma Moye, dedicated to preserving Paso Robles' history, co-founded the Paso Robles Area Historical Society in 1985 as a non-profit organization. The first exploratory meeting was held on February 17th, 1985 in the Plymouth Congregational Church with thirty-five persons in attendance.. 

Virginia Peterson was fascinated by Paso Robles' history from the moment she arrived. She was a teacher and principal in Paso Robles and during this time she earned a Master's Degree in education. Her thesis on the early history of Paso Robles is like a bible to local researchers. A new school in 1989 was dedicated to and named after Virginia Peterson. In retirement, Virginia was quite active in many civic organizations, including the Paso Robles Area Historical Society, serving as its president for many years.

Virginia Peterson


Norma descends from two prominent pioneer families, the Ronconis and the Richettis.  Even as a young girl, she had a passion for her hometown of Paso Robles. As Executive Director of Paso Robles Main Street, she has been instrumental in revitalizing downtown Paso Robles. Her efforts have created a vital, thriving, tourist-friendly downtown that celebrates its unique history. Norma remains an active lifetime board member of the Paso Robles Area Historical Society.

Norma Moye


Carnegie Library, 1908

In 1995, Paso Robles Historical Society assumed stewardship of the historic Carnegie Library when the new library and City Hall were built across the street. This beautiful neo-classical revival structure was originally funded by a $10,000 grant from industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Designed by William H. Weeks, the cornerstone of the library was laid on January 29, 1908. R.O. Summers of San Jose oversaw the construction and the library formally opened June 19, 1908. The building is listed as a Historic Resource and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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