Earlier this year, I mentioned that the city has taken a new interest in preserving the community’s “Colony homes.”
A Colony home, as defined by the Atascadero Historical Society, is a home built between 1915 and 1924, from the year E.G. Lewis allowed new homes to be built here up to the time he was forced into involuntary receivership.
There are a number of homes built after this period that the society considers “historic” structures. One such home will be on this year’s Colony Home Tour. It is owned by Kelly and Vicki Dunning and was built in 1927. It was owned for a number of years by the man whose dairy and farmland became the home of Atascadero State Hospital after its sale to the state of California in 1946.
Another “historic” home, owned by Tom and Peggy O’Malley, was also constructed in 1927, by Harry and Minnie Peterson. A small wrought-iron balcony on a front window of the O’Malley home came from the old Atascadero Inn, which was destroyed by a fire in 1934. The Atascadero Inn was originally built and opened in 1917 as La Plaza, a large mercantile store in which the menswear department was operated by Harry Peterson. The O’Malley home won’t be open this year for a tour because of schedule conflicts.
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The Historical Society considers these homes to be an extension of its museum collection.
As I drive along El Camino Real, I notice that two homes are being brought back from the dead, one on the north end of the street close to Home Depot and another across the street from the Spencer’s Market complex.
Two more homes located on property slated for Walmart and surrounding development may be saved from the bulldozer. The city is encouraging that they be preserved. One has already been offered to the Historical Society.
I’m delighted that they are being considered valuable enough to spare. I wish this community could have been that aware of these treasures before others were allowed to be destroyed, such as the E.G. Lewis estate and the Southern Pacific Railroad station at the end of Capistrano Avenue.
A premier home, built in 1916 by Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Ewalt and currently owned by Kelly and George Shoemaker, will be open to the public during the tour April 30.
Tickets are being sold at the Historical Society’s Colony House on Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. and at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.
Reach Lon Allan at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.