FACING A PANDEMIC IN THE PAST
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The cartoon from 1919 depicts a time when the Spanish Flu brought feelings of fear & uncertainty to many in our community. Our present pandemic has invoked many of these same feelings but, thankfully, we live in an age where scientists worldwide have identified this new influenza as a virus (not a germ) and are working on a vaccine. With this in mind, it is interesting to look back at some of the medicines and RXs that were prescribed for various ills and diseases. Some of the prescriptions that are on display or in our archives are quite interesting.
Well we are certainly living through interesting times, aren’t we? The COVID-19 virus has certainly affected all of our community, and that’s true of us here at the Historical Society as well.
As per the State mandate, we shut our doors in mid-March and have used the time to re-organize our interior spaces, catch up on filing, refine our procedures and reduce our overall expenses.
Electronic Board Meetings have been held to update our By-laws and elect a new Board of Directors for 2020-2021. I will be returning as President for 1 additional year and Nancy Tweedie will be our new 1st Vice-President. We’re welcoming Chris Lynds and Sheila Groom to our board and saying goodbye to Bob Lata, with Many Thanks, especially for his fundraising and educational contributions.
Work continues behind the scenes and we hope you will all assist us by continuing your memberships, so that we will be able to create wonderful new exhibits for the coming year.
As we are unable to hold a fundraising event this year, we will be relying on our members to continue their support. All our PRAHS members are special, but we’d like to recognize:
Bruce & Sandra “Cindy” Ebelherr of the historic Kentucky Ranch (8350 Vineyard Dr), have been long-time supporters of the Historical Society and have again stepped up with a very generous donation to help keep us in operation.
Linne Calodo Cellars (3030 Vineyard Dr) Owners, Matt & Maureen Trevisan, also made a substantial donation to our cause. Fun Fact: they named their winery after the distinctive limestone soils found on the west side of Paso, in the Willow Creek district.
Alex Webster, of the Will & Helen Webster Foundation, has again continued his support with another significant grant aimed at furthering our research abilities. This is the 5th year we have received their generosity and we are truly grateful for the continued support.
Libbie Agran of the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo, has made a generous donation toward future research projects and this year the Aqua Caliente Questers organization has granted us funds for our upcoming educational exhibit, a Timeline of Paso Robles History.
Thanks too, to our own, Terry Minshull, for his “artistic” donation. And just one more.... Mike Zook, technician and the Scott O’Brien Fire Safety Company in Atascadero for donating a new Halon Fire extinguisher, to keep us and our equipment safe!
A large segment of Paso Robles Historical Society’s holdings of local newspapers have been digitized and are accessible online at the Carnegie Library. The papers include: The Leader, 1886-1919; Record, 1895-1917; Spotlight, 1928-1930; Star, 1920-1925; Times, 1935-1937; Independent, 1894,1895, 1899; The Moon, 1892-1895
How to preserve the newspapers in our archives and how to make them searchable? These were the two main questions that the PRAHS began to seriously ask several years ago. Many of the newspapers in our archives had already been microfilmed but they weren’t searchable.
With preservation as our main goal, we asked ourselves a trillion questions... Should we get a scanner and scan each page ourselves? How about a camera? How would we save the images? What program would we use to convert the images to a searchable format, who would help us, and what costs would be involved? The process of coming to a solution was certainly interesting and the learning curve was high!
Overwhelmed, we sought guidance from UC Riverside, the location of the California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC). We learned that microfilming was the best way to preserve old newspapers, as microfilm can last about 100 years; however, microfilm wasn’t search-friendly. Then we learned about Digital ReeL, a service made available through BMI Imaging. BMI specializes in converting microfilm to a text-searchable digital record.
Digital ReeL turned out to be the unique solution we were looking for. After several successful fundraisers, we were able to send BMI hard copies of papers that had never been microfilmed before, as well as the microfilms that had been done years ago. About 10,000 pages of our old newspapers have now been scanned and converted into a digital format. This now allows one to access the papers more easily, preserves the content, and protects the data in case of loss or disaster.
This service will be available to the public to do their own research once we have re- opened. Appointments are suggested and we will be asking for a small fee to help cover the cost of this service. Questions? email@example.com
ITS TIME TO RENEW YOUR HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP Membership forms are appended to this newsletter, available on our website: www.pasorobleshistorymuseum.org Or send us an email request and we will get a form to you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know exactly where this high-pressure silver tank filled with natural gas stood? That is Robbins Field in 1935. Was it near the RR tracks? West of the RR tracks? On the other side of the RR tracks? Along 7th Street? 6th Street? Spring St.?
In 2015 Dale Hiner of the Hiner Group found these items (on left and middle) while metal detecting. At first he thought they were 20 gauge brass shotgun shells. However, after a thorough cleaning he discovered that they were air pressure gauges. One was dated July 6, 1908, and the other was dated July 6, 1909. Wording on the gauge is very difficult to read, what can be seen is “Schrader’s Brooklyn NY SO_ _MO”.
Article from the Paso Robles Leader dated October 11,1918
You Can Thwart Influenza by These Rules
CAUSES OF INFECTION 1 — Use of “community” towels. 2 — Contact with microbic effluvia in crowded or badly ventilated gathering places. 3 — Exposure to inclement weather without proper protection of lungs and throat; getting feet wet, etc. 4 — Expectoration; failure to disinfect clothing, bed linen, or other articles that have been in contact with infected persons.
SYMPTOMS Coughing, sneezing, chills, (sometimes slight), headache, backache and prostration, sometimes nausea and vomiting. The disease may be distinguished by an ordinary cold, by prostration, pains in the back and head. Symptoms develop rapidly.
REMEDIES Go to bed at once and call a physician. If this is done the most serious and often fatal danger, pneumonia, may almost certainly be avoided. Aspirin, the salicylates and quinine—which should, however, be used advisedly.
Keep the body vigorous and clean by bathing, exercise, deep breathing and good ventilation. Avoid exposure and infection by familiarity with causes of the disease. Powdered boric acid may be used as a snuff; Dobell’s or similar antiseptic solutions as a gargle. Avoid worry or over- work.
EXCEPTIONAL WOMEN OF THE PASO ROBLES AREA Many exceptional women of Paso Robles and its surrounding area have helped shape Paso Robles into what it is today. A few of these women are featured with photos and stories of their unique contributions.
DOLLY BARBA BADER This uniform (right) was donated by Dolly Bader. It’s the uniform of the Red Cross Motor Service Corps. The Corps was founded in 1917 by the American Red Cross to
‘render supplementary aid’ to the US Army and Navy in transporting troops and supplies during WW1, among other things. In WW2 the women made deliveries and provided transportation. They took auto maintenance classes and used their own transportation to deliver supplies and transport sick and wounded as well as volunteers to and from facilities.
HISTORY OF WOMEN’S SUFFERAGE IN THE PASO ROBLES AREA Women’s suffrage in the United States, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century. California was the sixth state to allow women to vote, nine years before the 19th Amendment enfranchised women nationally. Organizations that supported women’s suffrage nationwide, and eventually locally, were The Grange,
Farmers’ Alliance, Populist Party, Political Equality League, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Women in rural parts of America traditionally had more rights or freedoms than women in the cities. They were treated as valuable members of the community and the organizations that they were part of.
SALINAN EXHIBIT The very popular case containing Salinan artifacts remains on display with many new artifacts added.
TEMPERANCE TEETOTLARS & TABOO This exhibit, curated by The Wine History Project, looks at the Temperance Movement, the events leading up to the passage of the 18th Amendment, and the effects of Prohibition on grape growing, both locally and statewide. Historical Society
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc everywhere and the Paso Robles Area Historical Society is no exception. The Carnegie Library has been closed since March and may not open anytime soon. Due to the closure of the main floor museum area, there have been no donations from the many guests typically visiting the Carnegie and likewise, the gift shop is not bringing in funds. Additionally, there will be no fundraiser this fall to help support future projects for 2020-21. Despite not opening to the public, there is still overhead to be considered. In view of these difficult circumstances, a small solution has been suggested, one that will help both our members and the PRAHS.
It is proposed to keep the Research Room open for research requests. For a nominal donation, the staff will search the archives to research a name, family, building, location, date, photo, news article, etc. Members receive 2 free hours of research; however, as most requests take many additional hours, a donation would be appreciated for the extra time.
If you are interested in assisting the Historical Society in this way, please fill out the research request form that you can find on the website (www.pasorobleshistorymuseum.org) or call the Carnegie at 805-238-4996, or email at (email@example.com). As mentioned earlier in this newsletter, with Digital Reel many of our newspapers have been digitized and available for inquiries. A separate donation is required for use of this tool.
It is hoped that this idea will not only assist our members, but will allow the continuation of the Historical Society’s mission to preserve the history of our area. Thank you.