Paso Robles is known to many locals simply as “Paso”. The Salinan Indians lived in this beautiful valley thousands of years ago and called the area ‘The Hot Springs’. These thermal lifelines were much appreciated by the Mission Fathers and their congregations who also extolled their healing wonders, as had the Indians before them.
The land and its hot springs were originally part of a 25,000 acre Spanish land grant that soothed weary travelers trekking the Camino Real trail. Neighboring Franciscan priests from Mission San Miguel are credited with constructing the initial mineral baths.
Thanks to this bustle and activity, Paso Robles started attracting families who became its founding community leaders and members. James and Daniel Blackburn donated land for the first city park which was originally lined with cacti. Later, a bandstand was constructed and the first theatre events were held.
The original El Paso de Robles Hotel was built featuring a hot mineral springs bath house.
When Paso Robles became a city in 1889, a new very pricy El Paso de Robles Hotel was built. It was surrounded by a nine hold golf course and a seven acre garden. It also featured a The 20 by 40-foot ‘plunge bath’ that was one of the grandest in the USA. A true believer in the healing power of the hot springs was Ignace Paderewski, a famous concert pianist and composer, who visited in 1913 with severe arthritis. After several treatments, he was able to resume his concert tour and, remembering the area with warmth and gratitude, later purchased ranch property outside of the city.
Other notables staying at the hotel were President Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas Fairbanks, Clark Gable, Bob Hope, and boxing champion Jack Dempsey. Years ago, the fertile farmland surrounding Paso Robles was planted to thousands of acres of apple and almond orchards. It was even called “Almond City” to recognize the fact that it had the highest acreage of almond orchards in the world at the time. Ranching was important in the area, as well, and cattle, horses, grains, and fruit and nut crops were grown. Today, most of this acreage produces wine grapes.
The Town Centre is truly a point of pride for residents of Paso Robles. City officials recently voted to:
Paso Robles is a charming small city bustling with things to do. Whether young or old, single or with family in tow, there are always fun activities to fill the day and night: