WHERE OH WHERE is the place to be before and after the parade and the activities in City Park? Simple…. PIONEER MUSEUM is the answer.
Starting at about 6 a.m., the tractors begin to fire up. Buggies and wagons are being rolled out of Transportation Hall and the behemoth harvester is pulled from the Harvester Barn. The coffee is hot; breakfast sausages, eggs, biscuits and all the fixins are sizzling on the grills for a really hearty breakfast. Experiencing the first puffs of smoke coming from the exhaust pipes and hearing the growling of the engines as they move around to limber up for the day – well, there is no reason to contain the excitement…no matter your age. Absolutely, early morning is one of the best memory-making times of each Pioneer Day.
As the parade ends, vehicles and farm implements head back home, but first they go on display for the rest of the day at the campus of Pioneer Day Committee and Pioneer Museum… right next to the Event Center. If 6 a.m. is too early, maybe after lunch is just perfect. It’s a great time to see these beauties and realize how unique they truly are. Ask the operators where they were made and how they were shipped to our area and then to the ranches they were used on!
Now, head on inside the Museum halls and outbuildings. There is sooooo much to see and Pioneer Day is a perfect time to take in some of it. With a collection of 6,000 artifacts, there are a ton of them on display. Quilters and weavers will be working. Peruse the gun collections and the vast array of items in the Smith Sporting Goods display. The military, Ag and medical displays, original schoolhouse, the jail, post office, general store and so much more will make the time fly. Almost too much to take in on one visit.
What’s new? Since last year the replica of the old Hotel el Paso de Robles was finished. See if you can figure out how many bricks are on the front! The re-creation of Paso’s early train station’s water tank is really neat. Great chance to explain to the youngsters what water’s role was in powering the trains.
Did ya ever wonder how the train engineers knew where to precisely stop to take on water? Check it out; the answer is there. There is also a small train exhibit so we can yearn for the days when we had our own train sets.
Just a few feet away is the Kiddie Korral where the little ones can see and touch things they don’t see anymore; dial telephones and typewriters are a couple. There’s even a puppet stage to host a play.
A recent kitchen donation was made that consists of basically all the things that mom used when making a meal in about 1910. No plastic on the utensils or stoves. This display is at the front entrance; it’s a must see.
The Jewell Swift Barbed Wire collection is the 4th largest in the world. Almost a thousand different pieces plus great explanations of the hows and whys of wire that ‘contained the West.’
Darrell’s Print Shop was where Paso Printers now resides on Park St. Darrell and Milene Radford donated their Linotype Printing Press and all the things that were needed ‘back when’ to print a document. For years, these artifacts have been ‘back in a corner’ with little explanation or fanfare. A new area by the Blacksmith Shop was funded and is now being prepared to house and show off this great display in their honor. There’ll even be some very old original Paso documents on display that were printed on the equipment.
As we all know, there is a tremendous amount of talent in the Paso area. Writers fall into the mix. Mr. Joe Kowalski has authored and published a new book titled, “Nacimiento; Birth of the Dragon.” Joe will be on hand to sign copies of his book which chronicles the history of “The Lake” which is so important to our area. Hmmmm, possibly an early Christmas present for the history buff in your family? Check out all the gift shop treasures too.
Admission is still free. Come on in and improve your Paso-area history knowledge.