In my collection of old newspapers I have quite a few copies of the San Miguel Banner which was published by Herb Comfort throughout the 1960s. His printing business was in the building on 14th Street which now houses Taco Mafia. It was a typical small-town newspaper filled with the minutiae in the lives of people who were neighbors, friends and relatives – who had visitors, birthdays, anniversaries, parties and who might be ill or have died. Everyone knew everyone else and kids couldn’t

Lynne sep optimized

PASO Magazine Contributor Lynne Schmitz

get away with much but felt safe and secure in the town ‘family’. We’ll look at the January 3, 1963 issue. On the front page, readers learned ‘Mail Rates Go Higher Monday’. Postmaster Kenneth Fee announced the raise, saying the new nickel letter rate was the same as when stamps were first issued in 1848. The new stamp was blue and featured a picture of George Washington.
Mr. Fee reminded writers to add a one cent stamp if needed. Air Mail was going up to eight cents. Judge Ray B. Lyon was retiring from the SLO County Superior Court bench after serving since 1938. A lengthy article listed his accomplishments. Inside was a listing of church services. The pastor of Mission San Miguel was Fr. Donald Gander O.F.M., Rev. Gertrude Parker was pastor of the Community Methodist Church at 8th and L Streets, and Rev. Ernest Vaughn was pastor of the Assembly of God Church at 13th and L Streets. Thomas Whaley was principal at Lillian Larsen Elementary School. Several businesses advertised in the paper, including Mission Trail Café on south Mission Street across from the Mission; Hugo’s Douglas Service, owned by Hugo Lichti just north of the restaurant (now Awalt & Son); San Miguel Variety Store, owned by Vivian Witcosky on 14th and Mission Street (now CHC), Casa Blanca Motel on east 12th Street (now a trailer court), the San Miguel Telephone Company on the corner of the alley on 12th Street and Turner’s Tavern & Restaurant at 1215 Mission Street. Witcosky’s Grocery, owned by Joe and Vivian Witcosky, advertised fresh ground beef and pork spare ribs at 45 cents per pound. Joe was an expert meat-cutter. Also advertising was Mission Restaurant and Truck Store owned by Angelis J. Karascos at 1315 Mission Street. Next door, Chames Fountain and Chames Barber Shop were owned by the Chames family. The San Miguel Flouring Mill, incorporated in 1903 and owned by the Van Horn family, offered grain cleaning, rolling and storage and stock feeds. Ken’s garage, owned by Kenny Sanchez was located in the old building on 14th and Mission Street that is currently abandoned. Before he owned the business, he was in partnership with Louis Larsen, husband of the teacher for whom our school is named. Camp Roberts was active under the command of Colonel Henry Settle. Fifty-five years ago, San Miguel was a very different place.
San Miguel story ideas?
Lynne Schmitz can be contacted at