John Ehlers explained that it was actually Ken Cooper who spearheaded the effort to form the Cambria Historical Society back in 1971. Ken told us that he purchased the Blue Bird in 1971 and, when he was going through some of the items left behind by the former owners, he came across some photos of Bing Crosby and Wm. Randolph Hearst on horseback in the Pinedorado Parade and thought he would like to donate them to the local historical society. After asking around, he discovered that there was not a local historical society but that Paul & Louise Squibb had a lot of local

history memorabilia. Ken spoke to Louise Squibb and asked her if she would donate her items to the town. She told him she had already decided to give them to the SLO Historical Society since there was no society in Cambria. Ken told her he would start one. Being somewhat skeptical, she turned down his request. Undaunted, Ken began his quest to form a Cambria Historical Society. He contact Joan Broadhurst, an attorney who just moved to town and asked her how much it would cost to incorporate. Joan responded that the cost would be about $1200. So, Ken set out to raise the needed funds and, with Joan’s expertise, the Cambria Historical Society was incorporated in 1990.

John Ehlers also noted that Rotarians Nancy Carr, Linda Finley, Dennis Rightmer, Roger and Sue Robinson have been very involved with the society in the past.

John shared some fun facts about Cambria’s history:

  • Many of us have been complaining about the construction in Highway 1 this summer. Did you know that, in the late early days of Hearst Castle, in order to transport visitors from SLO to San Simeon, one had to stop 19 times to open cattle gates.

  • Local shop owner, George Lull, went to the county to get a permit to build what is now the main structure at the Bluebird Inn. When he was asked what the address of the property was, he said 1880 Main St., since the year was 1880 and it was the first number he came up with. From that time on, all Main St. addresses were based on the 1880 address.

  • Have you noticed some of the buildings on Main Street in the East Village are below street level. That is because, in 1927, when the highway was build, they raised the level of Main St. so it would match the highway.

    The Santa Rosa School House:

• The Cambria Lions Club donated the structure to the Cambria Historical Society several years ago. CHS has now obtained a lease on the 6 acre parcel at the East edge of town informally known as the old dog park. This location provides an authentic bucolic setting for the Schoolhouse and a contextual welcoming for the entrance to the East Village. CHS plans to restore the Schoolhouse interior to its original design, furnishing it with vintage school desks, chalkboards and educational materials. It will be open to children and adults as a school museum where we will regularly offer interactive activities, exhibits and educational experiences. These experiences will recall how people lived and learned in the 1800s and early 1900s. Donations are sorely needed. A GoFundMe page has been set up ( Anyone making a $1,000 donation to the Vintage PTA will have a plaque with their name on it at the schoolhouse.